Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday celebrated in the winter season. One of the most common questions about this holiday is why it is observed on different days each year. The answer lies in the origins of the holiday and its religious observances which involve the Hebrew calendar.
The story of Hanukkah begins with the overthrow of the corrupt Hellenic Syrian-Greek regime by the Maccabees in the second century BCE which led to the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem. To commemorate the event, Jewish tradition calls for an eight-day period of lights, gifts, and prayers. In order to ensure that the holiday is celebrated properly each year, following the Hebrew calendar is necessary.
The Hebrew Calendar
The Hebrew calendar is based on the cycle of the moon, consisting of 12 months of 29 or 30 days each. The length of the months is determined by visual sightings of the young crescent moon over Jerusalem throughout the year. Since the typical solar calendar (like the one used in the United States) has only 12 months, some rearrangement of the Hebrew calendar is necessary to ensure that Hanukkah falls in the right time of year.
Due to the fact that the Hebrew calendar is based on a lunar cycle, Hanukkah is observed on different days each year. Because the holy day must always fall during the winter months, the addition of a twelfth or thirteenth month is necessary when the rest of the world is on the solar calendar. As a result, Hanukkah is celebrated in November or December, usually between the 25th day of the month Kislev and the 2nd or 3rd day of the month Tevet.
In order to observe Hanukkah, Jews around the world light special candles every night for eight nights, beginning with the 25th day of the month Kislev. On each night, a different candle is lit, with the eighth night being the holiest and brightest. Special prayers are said each night, and gifts are exchanged. Food is also a major part of the festivities, with Jews usually eating traditional dishes such as latkes (potato pancakes).
Hanukkah is a joyful holiday that celebrates religious freedom and a miracle that occurred more than two thousand years ago. Its observance each year depends upon the lunar cycle of the Hebrew Calendar, which means that it is celebrated on a different day each year. Despite the ever-changing date, the spirit of the holiday remains the same – a celebration of faith, family, and miracles.
- Why Is Hanukkah Different Days Each Year?
- Why Does Hanukkah Begin On Different Days Each Year?
- Why Is Hanukkah So Late This Year?
- Why Is Hanukkah Celebrated On Different Days?
- Why Does Hanukkah Change Dates Every Year?
- Why Is Hanukkah So Early This Year?
- Why Is Hanukkah Different Every Year?
- When Is Hanukkah Next Year?
- When Is Hanukkah Each Year?
- Why Does The Date Of Hanukkah Change Every Year?
- Why Is Hanukkah Celebration Eight Days Long??
- Why Is Hanukkah 8 Days?
- Why Is Hanukkah Celebrated For 8 Days?
- Why Does Hanukkah Start On A Different Day Each Year?
- When Is Hanukkah Every Year?
Last update 2023-11-22. Price and product availability may change.