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Yom HaAtzmaut in Canada

Many Jewish people in Canada remember Israel’s Independence Day, also known as Yom Ha’Atzmaut (or Yom HaAtzmaut). Celebrations are annually held on or around the fifth day of the month of Iyar, according to the Jewish calendar.

Is Yom HaAtzmaut a Public Holiday?

Yom HaAtzmaut is not a public holiday. Businesses have normal opening hours.

Israeli Flags
Israeli flags are often seen at Yom Ha'Atzmaut celebrations.
Israeli flags are often seen at Yom Ha'Atzmaut celebrations.
©iStockphoto.com/Joy Powers

What Do People Do?

Many Jewish communities, organizations, and activity groups across Canada hold celebratory events to commemorate Israel’s Independence Day. Evening dance parties may include a special beginners’ class dance lesson on Yom Ha’Atzmaut. Events are held at various locations, including Jewish temples, and offer refreshments for those who attend them.

Musical groups from Israel may hold special performances in cities such as Vancouver or Toronto on or around Yom Ha’Atzmaut. “After parties” are sometimes held and may involve speeches from prominent community leaders, as well as networking or social opportunities.

Public Life

Yom Ha’Atzmaut is not a statutory public holiday in Canada.

Background

Many Jewish Canadians celebrate Israel’s independence on Yom Ha’Atzmaut. It commemorates when David Ben-Gurion, who was Israel’s first prime minister, publicly read the Israel’s Declaration of Independence on May 14, 1948. According to the Jewish calendar, this was the fifth day of Iyar, the eighth month of the civil year, in the year 5708.

According to the Jewish calendar, the fifth day of the month of Iyar cannot fall on a Sunday. If this date falls on a Friday or Saturday, Yom Ha'Atzmaut is observed on the third or fourth day of the month. If the date falls on a Monday, it is observed on the sixth day of Iyar. This is so that the festivities do not fall just before, on, or just after the Sabbath.

Symbols

The most prominent symbol seen at events that celebrate Yom Ha’Atzmaut is Israel’s flag. This is a white rectangle in the ratio 11:8 with two horizontal blue stripes, one at the top and one at the bottom. A regular hexagram, known as the Star of David, or Megan David, is depicted in blue between the stripes.

About Yom HaAtzmaut in other countries

Read more about Yom HaAtzmaut.

Yom HaAtzmaut Observances

Note: Jewish holidays begin at sundown the day before the date specified for the holiday.

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2010TueApr 20Yom HaAtzmautJewish holiday 
2011TueMay 10Yom HaAtzmautJewish holiday 
2012ThuApr 26Yom HaAtzmautJewish holiday 
2013TueApr 16Yom HaAtzmautJewish holiday 
2014TueMay 6Yom HaAtzmautJewish holiday 
2015ThuApr 23Yom HaAtzmautJewish holiday 
2016ThuMay 12Yom HaAtzmautJewish holiday 
2017TueMay 2Yom HaAtzmautJewish holiday 
2018ThuApr 19Yom HaAtzmautJewish holiday 
2019ThuMay 9Yom HaAtzmautJewish holiday 
2020WedApr 29Yom HaAtzmautJewish holiday 

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