Chris' Original Blogbeque

A fresh, vinegar-based examination of life

Introduction to Israel’s Holidays and Festivals

Posted by Chris on July 6, 2008

This is part of a series. See the description and introduction and glossary.

God appointed certain holidays and festivals for Israel as times of worship, thanksgiving, and as key components of the Jewish religion. Since I am doing a study on the system of offerings and sacrifices, I will mainly focus on these things rather than the purpose and significance. I will mention them though, as it is very important for understanding the theological “fit”, which is one of my desires in studying this theme in scripture- that these things are important and have something to teach us.

The timing of the holidays does not correspond to our calendar; there is a separate Hebrew calendar. For that reason, Passover takes place on different dates each year and is not tied to Easter, which is based in our calendar, though Jesus’ crucifixion took place during the Passover time.

I have made a rough timeline of the holidays and how they fit in with one another on the Hebrew calendar. Below that I will list a more extensive written outline that gives other names by which you may know these festivals and the approximate correspondence to our calendar.

A timeline of Jewish festivals on the Hebrew Calendar

A timeline of Jewish festivals on the Hebrew Calendar

1st month: Nisan

  • Day 14: Passover
  • Day 15-21: Feast of Unleavened Bread

3rd month- Sivan

  • Day 6: Festival of Weeks- Shavuot- Pentecost

Harvest-time (equivalent to Sept-Oct)
7th month: Ethanim (Bible) or Tishrei (Talmud). This is considered the holiest month of the year.

  • Day 1: Feast of Trumpets (what has evolved into Rosh Hashanah, which is one of four different new year’s)
  • Day 10: Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur)
  • Day 15-22: Feast of Tabernacles (Feast of Booths or Sukkot)

I will discuss a total of 6 holidays and divide them into two categories, one for the pilgrim festivals (Israel required to travel to Jerusalem after it was conquered by David) and festivals that should be celebrated wherever one resided.


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