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Last Day of Chanukah in the United States

Many Jewish people in the United States mark the last day of Hanukkah as the end of the Hanukkah celebrations. Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish observance to commemorate the Jewish people's struggle for religious freedom.

Is Last Day of Chanukah a Public Holiday?

Last Day of Chanukah is not a public holiday. Businesses have normal opening hours.

girl on hanukkah looking at Menorah

It is a Jewish tradition for candles to be lit during Hanukkah.

©iStockphoto.com/Pavlina Richterova

What Do People Do?

Hanukkah is one of the happiest Jewish events for many Jewish Americans. Many families light candles on the hanukiah, a type of candle holder, eat sizzling potato pancakes, give gifts and play with the dreidel, a spinning toy that is particularly popular during Hanukkah.

The last day of Hanukkah is the eighth day of Hanukkah. It is known as Zose Hanukkah, Zos Hanukkah or Zot Hanukkah.  It is the second day of the month of Tevet and marks the day on which the great miracle of oil occurred, according to Jewish belief. It is a particularly special day because it encapsulates all of Hanukkah.

Hanukkah events in the United States include daytime or evening events featuring make popular food eaten during Hanukkah, particularly food fried in oil. There are also music nights reserved for singing and playing the dreidel, games events, as well as concerts and plays.

Public Life

The last day of Hanukkah is not a nationwide federal holiday in the United States. 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. Hanukkah is celebrated for eight days between the 25th day of the month of Kislev to the second day of Tevet in the Hebrew calendar. The first day of Hanukkah marks the start of eight-day Hanukkah period.  It is marked as the 25th day of the month of Kislev in the Jewish calendar. The Hanukkah period ends on the second day of the month of Tevet. It is important to note that many Jewish observances begin at sunset on the day before.

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 Last Day of Chanukah in other countries

Read more about Last Day of Chanukah.

Last Day of Chanukah Observances

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

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2015MonDec 14Last Day of ChanukahJewish holiday 
2017SunJan 1Last Day of ChanukahJewish holiday 
2017WedDec 20Last Day of ChanukahJewish holiday 
2018MonDec 10Last Day of ChanukahJewish holiday 
2019MonDec 30Last Day of ChanukahJewish holiday 
2020FriDec 18Last Day of ChanukahJewish holiday 
2021MonDec 6Last Day of ChanukahJewish holiday 
2022MonDec 26Last Day of ChanukahJewish holiday 
2023FriDec 15Last Day of ChanukahJewish holiday 
2025ThuJan 2Last Day of ChanukahJewish holiday 
2025MonDec 22Last Day of ChanukahJewish holiday 

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