Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish celebration that commemorates the Maccabees’ struggle for religious freedom more than 2,000 years ago. One of the holiday’s best-known traditions is the lighting of the menorah, a candelabrum with nine branches. People also eat latkes (potato pancakes) and jelly doughnuts, exchange gifts, play special games, and sing Hanukkah songs. But many people might be wondering, when exactly does Hanukkah begin?
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When Is The Start Of Hanukkah?
The Date of Hanukkah Depends on the Lunar Cycle
Hanukkah is celebrated for eight days each year, typically beginning on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev — and starting anywhere from late November to late December, depending on the lunar cycle. This is determined using a combination of three calendars: The Gregorian calendar, which is the calendar most of us are familiar with; the Hebrew calendar, which is a lunar-based calendar; and the Metonic cycle, a 19-year cycle of 235 lunar months.
Because the moon’s cycle is shorter than the Metonic cycle and Hebrew calendar, 11 days are added to the Hebrew calendar every two or three years to shift the dates of holidays back into their original season. That means that the Hebrew year can have 353, 354, or 355 days.
When is Hanukkah Celebrated This Year?
Due to the aforementioned lunar cycle shifting, Hanukkah ends up being celebrated on different days each year. This year, Hanukkah will begin on December 22 and last for eight days, ending on December 30.
Celebrating Hanukkah with Festivities and Traditions
- Lighting the Menorah: The menorah, also called the Hannukiah, is a nine-branched candelabrum. An additional candle placed in the center, called the shamash (guardian or servant), is used to light a new candle every night for eight consecutive nights. Each night of Hanukkah, an additional candle is lit from the shamash until all of the branches of the menorah are lit.
- Eating Latkes and Sufganiyot: Latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts) are eaten during Hanukkah to commemorate the Maccabees’ victory over their Greek-Syrian oppressors. The potatoes represent sustenance and hope even during difficult times, and the doughnuts are fried in oil to signify the oil that lasted for eight days and nights.
- Exchanging Gifts: At Hanukkah, friends and family members exchange gifts, often called Hanukkah gelt, to remind them of the rewards given by the Maccabean leaders.
- Playing Dreidel: The dreidel is a four-sided spinning top played by children during the Hanukkah season. Each side of the dreidel is marked with a different Hebrew letter—nun, gimmel, hei, and shin—which is an acronym representing Nes Gadol Hayah Sham (“A great miracle happened there”).
- Singing Hanukkah Songs: Children and adults alike enjoy celebrating the holiday with special Hanukkah songs. “Maoz Tzur,” “Mi Yimalel,” and “S’vivon” are among the most popular Hebrew songs that are sung during the Festival of Lights.
Hanukkah is celebrated by Jews around the world as a time to commemorate the Maccabees’ victory over the Greek-Syrian oppressors. Although it falls on different days each year depending on the lunar cycle, this year Hanukkah will begin on December 22 and end on December 30 – just right in time for the holiday season! Celebrate the Festival of Lights with special family and friends by lighting the menorah, eating latkes and sufganiyot, exchanging gifts, playing dreidel, and singing Hanukkah songs.
- How Many Days Is Hanukkah And When Does It Start?
- When Does Hanukkah Start And How Long Is It Celebrated?
- When Is Hanukkah Start?
- When Is The Start Of Hanukkah This Year?
- When Is Hanukkah Start This Year?
- How Is The Start Of Hanukkah Determined?
- What Day Is Hanukkah Start?
- What Date Does Hanukkah Start?
- When Will Hanukkah Start?
- What Month Does Hanukkah Start?
- Why Does Hanukkah Start On Different Day?
- When Does Hanukkah Start Each Year?
- When Start Hanukkah?
- What Time Does Hanukkah Start?
- When Does Hanukkah Start And End This Year?
Last update 2023-11-24. Price and product availability may change.