Hanukkah is the annual Jewish festival of lights that occurs on the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev. It commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem and is observed by kindling the lights of the nine-branched Hanukah menorah. But when, exactly, does Hanukkah begin?
When Will Hanukkah Start?
Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights and the Feast of Dedication, is celebrated for 8 days, starting on the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev. This usually happens in November or December, but the exact date changes from year to year because the Jewish calendar is lunar-based. The holiday usually begins on the evening following the lunar date.
How Is the Date Calculated?
The lunar-based Jewish calendar is calculated by tracking the cycle of the moon. The length of a solar year is 365.24 days, while a lunar year (calendar) is 354.37 days. An extra month is added to the calendar every two or three years to adjust and align the calendar with the solar year. This is called the intercalary month, or leap month.
Because of the discrepancy between the solar and lunar calendars, the date of the Jewish holidays can shift from year to year. Rabbinic tradition requires that two witnesses’ testimonies reported to a Rabbinical court help determine when the new moon occurs.
When Does Hanukkah Begin in 2021?
- Erev Hanukkah (the night before): Begins at sundown on Thursday, December 2
- Day 1: Friday, December 3
- Day 8: Friday, December 10
Remember: All times in the Jewish calendar are calculated from sundown. This means that the beginning of the day or the observance of a festival begins at sundown the previous evening.
Hanukkah is a special time of joy and hope for people of the Jewish faith. This time of celebration begins annually on the 25th day of the month of Kislev and continues for 8 days. As it is calculated according to the lunar cycle, it is important to take into account the leap month. In 2021, the joyous festival will begin on December 2nd and conclude on December 10th.
During this time, be sure to celebrate the Festival of Lights with family and friends and observe the various rituals of Hanukkah to ensure a meaningful experience. From spinning the dreidel and lighting the menorah, to traditional meals and exchanging gifts, observe all the symbols of this important festival.
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Last update 2023-11-27. Price and product availability may change.