Hanukkah Dates & Times 2020: How Long Is It?

hanukkah gifts


How long is Hanukkah 2020? When does the holiday start and end this year?

Hannukah falls on a different day each year. This holiday season, Hanukkah will start at sundown on Thursday, December 10, 2020. It will end at sundown on December 18, 2020. It spans eight days and eight nights.

The day of celebration is sometimes referred to as the Festival of Lights and directly translates to ‘dedication’ in Hebrew. As the holiday is based on the Hebrew calendar, it can be celebrated as early as the beginning of November. The calendar we are more familiar with and use often is the Gregorian calendar which was introduced in 1582.

CNN writes, “… while Hanukkah starts on the same day every year on the Hebrew calendar (25 Kislev), it doesn’t sync perfectly with the Gregorian calendar, so it has a ‘different’ date each year.”

Here’s what you need to know:

History of Hanukkah

According to legend, reports History.com, Hanukkah commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem around the second century B.C., “where… Jews had risen up against their Greek-Syrian oppressors in the Maccabean Revolt.”

When Judea came under the control of Antiochus III, the king allowed Jews to stay there as long as they did not practice religion. Later on, religion was actually outlawed and soldiers eventually massacred a number of people when they came to Jerusalem. When a rebellion took place, led by Jewish priest Mattathias, the Jews regained control of the area. The second Temple was erected, and in celebration, a menorah was lit.

The story of Hanukkah is not written in the Torah because the events that sparked the creation of the holiday took place after it was written.

Hanukkah Traditions

There are a number of traditions that coincide with the holiday, from baking latkes and Loukoumades to playing Dreidel and giving gifts to family members. Dreidel, CNN writes, has the Hebrew letters Hay, Gimel, Nun, and Shin on each of its four sides. Legend has it that when soldiers came through Jewish communities, Jewish communities pretended to play Dreidel when in reality they were studying the Torah.

According to History.com, other traditional foods eaten on Hanukkah include jam-filled donuts called sufganiyot. These foods are often cooked in oils in recognition of the Macabees oil that burned for so long.

Modern Jewish families celebrate the holiday by lighting one candle per night of Hanukkah. Interestingly enough, while Christmas is one of the most looked-forward-to holidays in the Christian tradition, CNN writes that if you ask a Rabbi if Hanukkah is the most important Jewish holiday, “you’ll get a resounding ‘no.'”

Two holidays that are, however, considered extremely important in the tradition are Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The outlet goes on to write, “Since Christmas is generally accepted as an important and universal experience in American childhood, kids of other faiths often feel left out of the celebrations. Due to the coincidental timing of Christmas and Hanukkah, some Jewish families participate in present exchanges and decorating.”

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