When Is Hanukkah in 2022? Everything to Know About the Festival of Lights

Oh, Hanukkah! The sweet Festival of Lights. The other gift-giving holiday. This is the time of year when Jewish people get to make delicious Hanukkah recipes passed down for generations. We're talking crispy, golden brown latkes dipped in juicy applesauce, and sweet fried desserts like apple fritters or jelly doughnuts.

What makes Hanukkah different from Christmas other than the foods you might cook and enjoy? For one, many Jews consider the winter festival more culturally important than religious. Now, you may be thinking, "Wait, but it's celebrated so close to Christmas?" Nope, no correlation. Other holidays like Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Passover have greater religious significance.

And the idea that the "Jewish Christmas" (joking, it's definitely not Jewish Christmas) always falls close to December 25—you can scratch that notion, too. The exact dates change year to year, ranging from late November to December. So the holiday can be quite hard to plan for if you haven't double-checked a given year's calendar! If you're hosting a Hanukkah party this year or want to wish your neighbors "Chag Sameach" (happy holiday) read on to learn when is Hanukkah in 2022.

Photo credit: Drazen Zigic - Getty Images
Photo credit: Drazen Zigic - Getty Images

When is Hanukkah in 2022?

This year, Hanukkah will start on the evening of Sunday, December 18, 2022. It will end on the evening of Monday, December 26, 2022. Every year, Hanukkah begins on the 25th day of Kislev, the ninth month of the Hebrew calendar. It ends on the second day of Tevet, the tenth month of the calendar. Jewish holidays are actually on the same day every year but only on the lunar Hebrew calendar. Western Christian holidays follow the Gregorian calendar, a solar calendar that most of us use daily. The lunar calendar is based on the moon's cycles, while the solar is determined by the earth's movement around the sun. Since each follows different cycles, a holiday that falls on a fixed date on one calendar will fall on a different day each year on the other.

What is Hanukkah?

Hanukkah (also spelled Chanukah) is the winter "festival of lights," celebrated by nightly candle lighting, special blessings, and eating tasty foods. Holiday traditions and observance vary by a Jewish person's origin and sect of Judaism.

In the second century BCE, Judea was invaded by a Seleucid king who tried to force the Jews to adopt Greek culture and beliefs. The Jewish priest Judah the Maccabee led his outnumbered and poorly armed people to defeat the far more powerful Seleucid army and reclaim the Holy temple in Jerusalem. 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."

How many days is Hanukkah?

Hanukkah is always eight days and nights. The significance of this time is described in the Jewish Talmud. According to Chabad.org, after the Jewish people reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, "they sought to light the Temple's Menorah (the seven-branched candelabrum), [but] found only a single cruse of olive oil had escaped contamination by the Greeks. Miraculously, they lit the menorah and the one-day supply of oil lasted for eight days, until new oil could be prepared under conditions of ritual purity."

The ancient rabbis created the festival of Hanukkah to celebrate this miracle. It's the reason Jewish people today spend the eight nights lighting candles on the menorah and celebrating with family and friends!

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