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

Why is Hanukkah Called the Festival of Lights?

The origins of this common name for the December holiday go back to the first century.

What is the Origin of Hanukkah?

The popular holiday isn't mentioned in the Bible and is barely addressed in the Talmud.

Your Guide to Online Hanukkah Events

Whether you want to prepare for the holiday by making Moroccan donuts, join a communal candle-lighting, or learn about the artistry of the Menorah, there is something for you!