Photo of the National Menorah in Washington, DC by Ted Eytan.

Hanukkah’s Start and End

When to celebrate the Festival of Lights in 2019.

In 2019, Hanukkah begins at sundown on Sunday, December 22nd. On that night, Jews will light one candle in the menorah.

The last night for lighting candles is Sunday, December 29th. Jews will light all eight candles that night to kick off the final day of Hanukkah which officially ends at sundown on Monday, December 30th.

More on Hanukkah 2019!

How long does Hanukkah last?

Hanukkah lasts for eight days because it commemorates the miracle of the oil. In the time of the Maccabees, the Syrian Greeks had seized control of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. They had erected statues to their gods, including Zeus, and made it impossible for Jews to properly worship their God in the Temple. Once the Maccabees defeated the Greeks and took back the Temple, they purged the idols, cleaned top to bottom and rededicated it to God. The final step was to light the great menorah, the seven-branched ceremonial lamp of the Temple that was meant to burn continuously. In the clean-up process, the Maccabees found only one small jar of ritually-pure oil that was fit to light the menorah. It should have lasted for one day, but it burned for eight whole days — enough time for more oil to be produced. For this reason, Jews celebrate Hanukkah for eight days by lighting a menorah that looks like the one in the Temple.

How many days are there in Hanukkah?

Like all Jewish holidays, Hanukkah begins at sundown. It lasts for exactly eight nights and eight days, ending again at sundown.


Learn more about Hanukkah candle-lighting here.

Learn more about Hanukkah traditions here.

Learn about Hanukkah foods here.

Learn about the history of Hanukkah here.

Discover More

Hanukkah 2019

In 2019, the first night of Hanukkah is Sunday, Dec. 22.

When Is the Last Night of Hanukkah 2019?

Get ready to light all eight Hanukkah candles.

Hanukkah 2016

Get ready to light the menorah on Dec. 24.