Calendar of festivals dates. Resources to celebrate multicultural diversity

Jewish Festivals Calendar

Jewish Festivals 2018

27 January
National Holocaust Memorial Day
The UK Holocaust Memorial Day was first held in January 2001. The date was chosen as the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

30 January
Tu B’Shevat
The Jewish New Year for trees – For religious accounting purposes all trees have their anniversaries on this festival, regardless of when they were planted.

28 February
Fast of Esther (Taanit Esther)
A fast from dawn until dusk on Purim eve, commemorating the three-day fast observed by the Jewish people in the story of Purim.

28 February – 1 March
Purim
Purim commemorates the time when the Jewish people living in Persia were saved from extermination by the courage of a young Jewish woman called Esther.

2 March
Shushan Purim
In some places Purim is celebrated one day later. In this case it is called Shushan Purim.

30 March
Ta’anit Bechorot
Fast of the Firstborn – Observed only by firstborn males, on the day before Passover. This fast celebrates the survival of Jewish firstborn sons from the 10th Plague of Egypt.

30 March – 7 April
Passover
Jews celebrate the Feast of Passover (Pesach in Hebrew) to commemorate the liberation of the Children of Israel who were led out of Egypt by Moses.

11 April – 12 April
Yom Hashoah
The Jewish Holocaust Remembrance Day. Many people in the UK observe Yom Hashoah, which is also known as Holocaust Remembrance Day. It commemorates the lives and heroism of Jewish people who died in the Holocaust between 1933 and 1945.

19 May – 21 May
Shavuot
A two-day festival that marks the time when the first harvest was taken to the Temple. Also known as the Festival of Weeks or the Feast of the Harvest.
Shavuot also celebrated Moses’ return from Mount Sinai with the two stone tablets containing the “Ten Commandments” – the most fundamental laws of the Jewish faith. Shavuot is also known as the Festival of the Giving of the Law.

21 July
Tisha B’Av
A solemn day that commemorates a series of tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people over the years. Tisha B’Av is a sad day for many Jewish people in the United Kingdom. It reminds them of the oppression and violence that caused suffering among Jewish people throughout history.

9 September
Rosh Hashanah
Jewish New Year. A two-day festival during which work is not permitted.

18 September
Yom Kippur
Day of Atonement – is the holiest day of the year in Judaism. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jewish people traditionally observe this holy day with an approximate 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue services.

23 September – 30 September
Sukkot
Sukkot or The Feast of Tabernacles lasts for seven days. It commemorates the years that the Jews spent in the desert on their way to the Promised Land, and celebrates the way in which God took special care of them under impossible conditions.

1 October – 2 October
Simchat Torah
Simchat Torah means “Rejoicing in the Torah. It comes at the end of Sukkot and marks the end of the yearly cycle of Torah reading, and beginning of a new one.

2 December – 10 December
Hanukkah
Also know as Chanukah is the Festival of Lights and marks the restoration of the temple by the Maccabees in 164 BCE. Hanukkah is celebrated at roughly the same time as Christmas, but there is no connection at all between the festivals. This eight day festival of lights is celebrated with a nightly menorah lighting, special prayers and fried foods.

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