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What is Tisha B´Av?

Prayer, fasting, and abstinence mark Tisha B´Av as a day of mourning for tragic events in Jewish history.

Worshippers recall their ancestor's suffering by praying and practicing self-denial on Tisha B'Av.

© iStockphoto.com/coldsnowstorm

Is Tisha B´Av a Public Holiday?

While this is not a public holiday in the United States, some Jewish-run organizations are closed on this date.

When Is Tisha B´Av?

Tisha B´Av is celebrated on the 9th day of the month of Av in the Hebrew calendar, which falls in July or August in the Gregorian calendar.

Destruction of the Temples

This commemoration recalls the destruction of the two great temples of Jerusalem: Solomon´s First Temple razed by the Neo-Babylonian Empire in 586 BCE, and the Second Temple, destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE.

Other tragedies are also recalled on this date, such as the expulsion of Jews from England, Spain, and other countries, and the massacre of Jewish people during the Crusades and the Holocaust.

As a result, this holiday is generally considered the saddest day of the Jewish calendar. Tisha B´Av is also believed to be a day that is likely to produce tragic outcomes, so many religious Jews do not hold weddings on this date.

Five Prohibitions and Lamentations

Traditionally, the Talmud´s Book of Lamentations is read in the synagogue on Tisha B´Av, followed by dirges known as kinot.

On the day, there are prohibitions dictated by scripture and tradition, including:

  • No eating or drinking.
  • No washing or bathing.
  • Use of scented creams or oils is not allowed.
  • Wearing leather shoes is forbidden.
  • There are edicts against physical affection and sexual relations on this date.

For more religious people, only sad texts from the Torah may be studied on Tisha B´Av. And some sit on low stools and sleep on the floor as a part of the mourning tradition.

Jewish Holidays Last Longer outside of Israel

In the Jewish diaspora—Jewish communities outside of Israel—an extra day is usually added to religious observances, with the exception of Yom Kippur, which lasts only one day worldwide, and Rosh Hashana, which is celebrated over two days in both Israel and the diaspora.

This custom has its roots in ancient times when the beginning of the months in the Jewish calendar still relied on the sighting of the crescent Moon following a New Moon.

The beginning of a new month was determined by the Sanhedrin, the supreme court of ancient Israel in Jerusalem. Once the date was published, messengers were dispatched to spread the news among Jews living abroad. Since this process took some time, it was decreed that Jews outside of ancient Israel were to observe every holiday for two days to make sure the rules and customs applicable to each holiday were observed on the proper date. This rule is still observed today.

About Tisha B'Av in Other Countries

Read more about Tisha B'Av.

Tisha B'Av Observances

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

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2019SunAug 11Tisha B'AvJewish holiday
2020ThuJul 30Tisha B'AvJewish holiday
2021SunJul 18Tisha B'AvJewish holiday
2022SunAug 7Tisha B'AvJewish holiday
2023ThuJul 27Tisha B'AvJewish holiday
2024TueAug 13Tisha B'AvJewish holiday
2025SunAug 3Tisha B'AvJewish holiday
2026ThuJul 23Tisha B'AvJewish holiday
2027ThuAug 12Tisha B'AvJewish holiday
2028TueAug 1Tisha B'AvJewish holiday
2029SunJul 22Tisha B'AvJewish holiday

While we diligently research and update our holiday dates, some of the information in the table above may be preliminary. If you find an error, please let us know.