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Jewish Holiday Descriptions

 

The following Jewish holidays are listed in chronological order as they are celebrated, beginning with the Fall High Holy Day Season.

Rosh HaShanah

Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish New Year, begins the ten-day period known as the High Holy Days. Rosh HaShanah is also known as the “birthday of the world”, the “day of remembrance” and the “day of the shofar.” Rosh HaShanah celebrates the ability of people to change and grow, as it is a time for deep thought, self-examination, and prayer.

Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is the holiday in which the Jewish people ask for forgiveness and forgive others. Yom Kippur, the most solemn and holy day of the Jewish year, is the last day of the ten days of awe and marks the end of the ten-day period of the High Holy Days.

Sukkot

Sukkot is a fall harvest festival. Sukkot is also known as the “Festival of the Booths”, as it commemorates the time the Jewish people lived in temporary huts (sukkot) during their wandering and during their time of harvest in the fields. Sukkot is a time of feasting and of giving thanks for the harvest.

Simchat Torah

Simchat Torah, meaning “rejoicing with the Torah”, is a happy holiday celebrated with gaiety and festivity. On Simchat Torah the last portion of the Torah in the book of Deuteronomy and the first verses of the book of Genesis are read in the same Temple service, signifying that the Torah has no beginning and no end.

Chanukah

Chanukah, a joyous holiday celebrated for eight days, commemorates the victory of the Jews over the Greeks and thus Jewish independence and the right to once again practice the Jewish religion. Chanukah celebrates the rededication of the Temple after the victory over the Greeks. Chanukah is also called the “Festival of Lights” in remembrance of the miraculous oil that burned in the Temple menorah for eight days at the time of the rededication of the Temple.

Blessings and How to Light Candles for Chanukah

Tu B’Shevat

Tu B’Shevat celebrates the “Birthday of the Trees.” This Jewish holiday validates the importance of nature and stresses the need for people to care for trees, plants and objects in nature. It is customary to plant trees on Tu B’Shevat.

Purim

Purim, a time of merriment and great fun, is one of the happiest of Jewish holidays. The festival of Purim derives from the biblical story of Esther and commemorates the Jewish people’s success over people who tried to destroy them.

Passover

Passover celebrates the most important event in Jewish history, which is the Jewish people’s exodus from Egypt. This holiday recalls the liberation of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt, their eventual freedom and their arrival in the promised land in Canaan. Passover is celebrated for eight days with a special meal, special foods, and specific traditional practices.


Yom Ha-atzmaut

Yom Ha-atzmaut, the “day of independence”, is the Jewish holiday celebrating Israel’s attainment of statehood. Israel’s Independence Day commemorates its establishment once again as the homeland of the Jewish people.

Lag Ba Omer

Lag Ba Omer is a minor Jewish holiday that focuses on the importance of study and learning. Lag Ba Omer is celebrated on the 33rd day of the 50 days of the counting of the “omer”, or the measure of the newly ripened barley. The Lag Ba Omer holiday provided a break from this serious harvest time.

Shavuot

Shavuot celebrates the day the Jews were given the Torah, the guidelines of Jewish life, on Mount Sinai. It is also a celebration of the time of harvest and the offering of the first fruits of the new harvest. On Shavuot the Jewish people decorate the synagogue with greens and flowers, wear white clothing, and eat dairy dishes.

Shabbat

The Jewish holiday of Shabbat is a joyous occasion celebrated every Friday night to Saturday night. Shabbat commemorates the creation of the world, as the world was created in six days and the seventh day was the day of rest. Shabbat is a special time for people to come together each week to be with family and friends, to rest, to think, to share, to sing, and to have a good time. The observance of Shabbat begins with a traditional ritual that includes blessings while lighting candles, drinking wine, and eating challah (twisted egg bread).

                            

Holidays in 2024:

Purim
Begins sunset Saturday, March 23, 2024
Ends evening Sunday, March 24, 2024

Passover
Begins sunset Monday, April 22, 2024
Ends evening Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Lag BaOmer
Begins sunset Saturday, May 25, 2024
Ends evening Sunday, May 26, 2024

Shavuot
Begins sunset Tuesday, Jun 11, 2024
Ends evening Thursday, Jun 13, 2024

Tisha B’Av
Begins sunset Monday, August 12, 2024
Ends evening Tuesday, Aug 13, 2024

Rosh Hashanah
Begins sunset Wednesday, Oct 2, 2024
Ends evening Friday, Oct 4, 2024

Yom Kippur
Begins sunset Friday, October 11, 2024
Ends evening Saturday, October 12, 2024

Sukkot
Begins sunset Wednesday, October 16, 2024
Ends evening Wednesday, October 23, 2024

Shemini Atzeret & Simchat Torah
Begins sunset Wednesday, October 23, 2024
Ends evening Friday, October 25, 2024

Hanukkah
Begins sunset Wednesday, December 25, 2024
Ends evening Thursday, January 2, 2025

Modern holidays:

Yom Hashoah
Begins sunset Sunday, May 5, 2024
Ends evening Monday, May 6, 2024

Yom Hazikaron
Begins sunset Sunday, May 12, 2024
Ends evening Monday, May 13, 2024

Yom Ha’atzmaut
Begins sunset Monday, May 13, 2024
Ends evening Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Yom Yerushalayim
Begins sunset Tuesday, Jun 4, 2024
Ends evening Wednesday, Jun 5, 2024

Sigd
Begins sunset Friday, November 29, 2024
Ends evening Saturday, November 30, 2024

Holidays in 2025:

Purim
Begins sunset Thursday, March 13, 2025
Ends evening Friday, March 14, 2025

Passover
Begins sunset Saturday, April 12, 2025
Ends evening Sunday, April 20, 2025

Lag BaOmer
Begins sunset Thursday, May 15, 2025
Ends evening Friday, May 16, 2025

Shavuot
Begins sunset Sunday, Jun 1, 2025
Ends evening Tuesday, Jun 3, 2025

Tisha B’Av
Begins sunset Saturday, August 2, 2025
Ends evening Sunday, Aug 3, 2025

Rosh Hashanah
Begins sunset Monday, September 22, 2025
Ends evening Wednesday, September 24, 2025

Yom Kippur
Begins sunset Wednesday, October 1, 2025
Ends evening Thursday, October 2, 2025

Sukkot
Begins sunset Monday, October 6, 2025
Ends evening Monday, October 13, 2025

Shemini Atzeret & Simchat Torah
Begins sunset Monday, October 13, 2025
Ends evening Wednesday, October 15, 2025

Hanukkah
Begins sunset Sunday, December 14, 2025
Ends evening Monday, December 22, 2025

Modern holidays:

Yom Hashoah
Begins sunset Wednesday, April 23, 2025
Ends evening Thursday, April 24, 2025

Yom Hazikaron
Begins sunset Tuesday, April 29, 2025
Ends evening Wednesday, April 30, 2025

Yom Ha’atzmaut
Begins sunset Wednesday, April 30, 2025
Ends evening Thursday, May 1, 2025

Yom Yerushalayim
Begins sunset Sunday, May 25, 2025
Ends evening Monday, May 26, 2025

Sigd
Begins sunset Wednesday, November 19, 2025
Ends evening Thursday, November 20, 2025

Mon, June 17 2024 11 Sivan 5784