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First Day of Hanukkah in Australia

Quick Facts

The first day of Hanukkah is the start of the Hanukkah period, which lasts for 8 days, from the 25th day of the month of Kislev to the second day of Tevet in the Hebrew calendar.

Local names

NameLanguage
First Day of HanukkahEnglish
Chanukka (Lichterfest) beginntGerman

Alternative name

First Day of Chanukah

First Day of Hanukkah 2014

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

First Day of Hanukkah 2015

Monday, December 7, 2015
Note: Jewish holidays begin at sundown the day before the date specified for the holiday.
List of dates for other years

Many Jewish communities in Australia observe the first day of Hanukkah, which marks the start of Hanukkah, also known as Chanukah or Festival of Lights. Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish observance that remembers the Jewish people's struggle for religious freedom.

Hanukkah is a time for gift-giving.

©iStockphoto.com/MarkCoffeyPhoto

What do people do?

Many Jewish Australians start observing Hanukkah on the evening before on the first day of Hanukkah, as many Jewish observances begin at sunset on the day before. The first day of Hanukkah is marked as the 25th day of the month of Kislev in the Jewish calendar. The Hanukkah period lasts for 8 days up until the second day of the month of Tevet.

Hanukkah (or Chanukah) often starts with special blessings at sunset the day before the 25th of Kislev. Many Jewish people light the hanukiah (or chanukkiyah), which is a type of candelabrum. Some state governments, such as the New South Wales government, have issued public statements to people celebrating Hanukkah, reminding them to be aware of fire hazards associated with Hanukkah, particularly with regard to using oil and lighting candles.

Hanukkah is a festive period for Jewish communities throughout Australia. Events involving meals, socializing, and games are held in venues such as parks and beaches. Meals that are offered during these events are often foods fried in olive oil, such as potato cakes, and different fried breads. It is also a time for gift-giving so some people order gift baskets to give to others. Hanukkah card games, board games and books are sold in Australia. A toy known as the dreidel is widely popular among both children and adults during Hanukkah.

Public life

The first day of Hanukkah is not a nationwide public holiday in Australia. Many Jewish schools have their school vacation fall around the same time of Hanukkah.

Background

Hanukkah commemorates the Jewish people’s successful rebellion against the Syrians in the Maccabean War in 162 BCE. A ritual cleansing and re-dedication of the Temple occurred after the Jewish people’s victory. It is believed that there was only enough consecrated oil to keep the lamp burning for one day but the small bottle of oil miraculously lasted for eight days. Hanukkah, also known as Chanukah, is referred as the Feast of Lights or Festival of Lights for this reason.

Moreover, the survival of Judaism over the many years is also celebrated during this period. The last day of Hanukkah, which marks the end of Hanukkah, falls on the eighth day of this period.

Symbols

The dreidel is a toy that is popular during the Hanukkah celebrations. It is a spinning top with a different Hebrew letter inscribed in each of its four sides – the four letters form an acronym meaning “a great miracle happened here”. The hanukiah (or chanukkiyah) is a type of candelabrum that holds eight candles to commemorate the eight days that the oil burned and a ninth candle that sits apart, known as the shamash, or servant candle that lights the others. One candle is lit on the first night, another on the second, and so forth until all candles are lit on the last night.

About First Day of Hanukkah in other countries

Read more about First Day of Hanukkah.

First Day of Hanukkah Observances

Note: Jewish holidays begin at sundown the day before the date specified for the holiday.
WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday typeWhere it is observed
WedDec 121990First Day of HanukkahJewish holiday 
MonDec 21991First Day of HanukkahJewish holiday 
SunDec 201992First Day of HanukkahJewish holiday 
ThuDec 91993First Day of HanukkahJewish holiday 
MonNov 281994First Day of HanukkahJewish holiday 
MonDec 181995First Day of HanukkahJewish holiday 
FriDec 61996First Day of HanukkahJewish holiday 
WedDec 241997First Day of HanukkahJewish holiday 
MonDec 141998First Day of HanukkahJewish holiday 
SatDec 41999First Day of HanukkahJewish holiday 
FriDec 222000First Day of HanukkahJewish holiday 
MonDec 102001First Day of HanukkahJewish holiday 
SatNov 302002First Day of HanukkahJewish holiday 
SatDec 202003First Day of HanukkahJewish holiday 
WedDec 82004First Day of HanukkahJewish holiday 
MonDec 262005First Day of HanukkahJewish holiday 
SatDec 162006First Day of HanukkahJewish holiday 
WedDec 52007First Day of HanukkahJewish holiday 
MonDec 222008First Day of HanukkahJewish holiday 
SatDec 122009First Day of HanukkahJewish holiday 
ThuDec 22010First Day of HanukkahJewish holiday 
WedDec 212011First Day of HanukkahJewish holiday 
SunDec 92012First Day of HanukkahJewish holiday 
ThuNov 282013First Day of HanukkahJewish holiday 
WedDec 172014First Day of HanukkahJewish holiday 
MonDec 72015First Day of HanukkahJewish holiday 
SunDec 252016First Day of HanukkahJewish holiday 
WedDec 132017First Day of HanukkahJewish holiday 
MonDec 32018First Day of HanukkahJewish holiday 
MonDec 232019First Day of HanukkahJewish holiday 
FriDec 112020First Day of HanukkahJewish holiday 

Related holiday

Other holidays in December 2014 in Australia

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