Get Ready: This Year, Hanukkah Begins on Thursday, December 10

Juliana LaBianca
·2-min read
Photo credit: Vlad Fishman - Getty Images
Photo credit: Vlad Fishman - Getty Images

From Good Housekeeping

Hanukkah is on its way! Of course, you've got some prep work to do: Ahead of the celebration, you need to purchase the perfect Hanukkah gifts, hang your favorite festive decorations, and decide on a holiday menu to serve throughout the week. But before you do that, you need to get the dates right. Because Hanukkah changes days each year, it's important to mark your calendar in order to plan properly. Ahead, we've outlined when Hanukkah falls in 2020. We've also included some trivia on the history of Hanukkah and why it lands on different dates each year.

When is Hanukkah in 2020?

This year, Hanukkah will start on the evening of Thursday, December 10, 2020. It will end on the evening of Friday, December 18, 2020. Each year, Hanukkah begins on the 25th day of Kislev, which is the ninth month of the Jewish calendar. It ends on the second day of Tevet, which is the tenth month of the Jewish calendar. So why does it fall on a different day each year? The Hebrew calendar is a lunar one, which means it's based on the cycles of the moon. Meanwhile, the Gregorian calendar, which is the one most of us use every day, is a solar calendar. That means it's based on the Earth's movement around the sun. Since the calendars follow different cycles, a holiday the falls on a fixed date on one calendar will fall on a different day each year on the other.

What is Hanukkah?

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Hanukkah is a festival that "reaffirms the ideals of Judaism and commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple of Jerusalem." The celebration was instituted by Judas Maccabeus in 165 BC to commemorate his victory over Antiochus IV Epiphanes, a Seleucid king who had invaded Judaea and tried to outlaw Judaism. The festival is celebrated by lighting the menorah each night, reciting special prayers, and eating delicious foods.

How many days is Hanukkah?

Each year, Hanukkah is eight days long. This amount of time has significance, as described in the Talmud. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, "When Judas Maccabeus entered the [Second Temple of Jerusalem], he found only a small jar of oil that had not been defiled by Antiochus. The jar contained only enough oil to burn for one day, but miraculously the oil burned for eight days until new consecrated oil could be found, establishing the precedent that the festival should last eight days." Today, that means we get more time to celebrate with friends and family. Want to learn more about this holiday? These are the most interesting facts to know about Hanukkah.

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