Hanukkah Has Begun With The National Menorah Lighting

Hanukkah has begun and today we have the Menorah lighting

Hanukkah has begun and today, the lighting of the National Menorah will take place in Washington on The National Mall. They will light the first candle this afternoon. 4 p.m. with entertainment from National Menorah Orchestra and “The Three Cantors,” in addition to Grammy Award-winning violinist Miri Ben-Ari. Dreidels, menorahs, hot latkes and jelly doughnuts will be distributed to attendees, and appearances will be made by “Dreidelman” and “The Maccabees.”

Last night, the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah began on Christmas Eve. Because the Hebrew calendar is a lunar calendar, the 8 days of Hanukkah change every year. When did it last overlap with Christmas and when will it next occur?

The Jewish holiday has only started on Christmas proper four times in the last 100 years: 1918, 1921, 1959, and 2005. However, it has overlapped with Christmas over fifty times in the last 100 years. According to Vox, “With eight total occurrences in 117 years, Hanukkah starts on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day roughly once every 15 years.”

The next time the two holidays will overlap will be in 2019. The next time Hanukkah begins on Christmas Day is 2024.

As stated above, the Jewish calendar is a lunar calendar. According to the United States Naval Observatory, a lunar calendar is based on lunar cycles that begin each month on the darkest day. Other calendars similar to this style are the Chinese, Hindu, and Islamic calendars. However, like the more common solar calendar, aka “Gregorian calendar,” the Hebrew calendar is made up of 7 days a week, about 4 weeks a month, and 12 months every year.

The Jewish New Year, known as Rosh Hashanah, usually occurs in late September or early October every year.

Hanukkah is 8 days long and ends on January 1, 2017.

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Jim Williams is the Washington Bureau Chief, Digital Director as well as the Director of Special Projects for Genesis Communications. He is starting his third year as part of the team. This is Williams 40th year in the media business, and in that time he has served in a number of capacities. He is a seven time Emmy Award winning television producer, director, writer and executive. He has developed four regional sports networks, directed over 2,000 live sporting events including basketball, football, baseball hockey, soccer and even polo to name a few sports. Major events include three Olympic Games, two World Cups, two World Series, six NBA Playoffs, four Stanley Cup Playoffs, four NCAA Men’s National Basketball Championship Tournaments (March Madness), two Super Bowl and over a dozen college bowl games. On the entertainment side Williams was involved s and directed over 500 concerts for Showtime, Pay Per View and MTV Networks.