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First Day of Hanukkah in Canada

Many Jewish communities in Canada 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.
Hanukkah is a time for gift-giving.
©iStockphoto.com/MarkCoffeyPhoto

What Do People Do?

Jewish communities in Canada celebrate the first day of Hanukkah on the 25th day of the month of Kislev in the Jewish calendar. The Hanukkah period lasts for 8 days and is celebrated from the 25th day of Kislev to the second day of Tevet. The first night of Hanukkah (or Chanukah) 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.

Hanukkah is a time for gift-giving so some people give gift baskets to others. Some organizations coordinate events, such as a Hanukkah Party, for children. These events often include singing, drama, and entertaining activities involving the dreidel, which is a toy used for games. Many Jewish Canadians prepare and eat meals fried in olive oil, such as potato cakes, and different fried breads. It is has also been tradition for the Canadian prime minister to join in Jewish Canadians in lighting a candle to celebrate Hanukkah.

Public Life

The first day of Hanukkah is not a nationwide public holiday in Canada. Some 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 Hanukkah, 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
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 

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.

First Day of Hanukkah 2016

Sunday, December 25, 2016

First Day of Hanukkah 2017

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

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Name in other languages

NameLanguage
First Day of HanukkahEnglish
HanouccaFrench
Chanukka (Lichterfest) beginntGerman

Alternative name

First Day of Chanukah
Note: Jewish holidays begin at sundown the day before the date specified for the holiday.

List of dates for other years

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