When is Hanukkah this year?
Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday celebrated for eight days and nights. It starts on the 25th of the Jewish month of Kislev, which coincides with late November-late December on the secular calendar.
In Hebrew, the word “Hanukkah” means “dedication”. The name reminds us that this holiday commemorates the re-dedication of the holy Temple in Jerusalem (Israel) following the Jewish victory over the Syrian-Greeks in 165 B.C.E.
Why does Hanukkah change dates?
Since the Jewish and Gregorian calendars are based upon different cycles, set dates on one calendar correlate to different dates on the other calendar each year. Although Hanukkah always begins on the 25th day of Kislev, that date can fall anywhere between late November and late December on the Gregorian calendar.
The Festival of Lights
Hanukkah, the “Festival of Lights,” starts on the 25th day of the Jewish calendar month of Kislev and lasts for eight days and nights. In 2016, Hanukkah begins at sundown on December 24. With blessings, games, and festive foods, Hanukkah celebrates the triumphs–both religious and military–of ancient Jewish heroes.
Hanukkah is a relatively minor holiday in the Jewish year. In the United States, however, its closeness to Christmas has brought greater attention to Hanukkah and its gift-giving tradition. Amid the ever-growing flood of Christmas advertising, it may seem especially fitting that the Hanukkah story tells of Jewish culture surviving in a non-Jewish world.