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Conservative Jews and Christians generally agree that the main seasonal days of celebration that are mentioned in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) were established by God and recorded by Moses. Religious liberals and many historians believe that the ancient Israelites took the three ancient harvest festivals of the Pagan Canaanites (Creation, Revelation and Redemption) and reworked them into the Jewish festivals of Tabernacles, Shavout and Passover. 1

In modern times, Jews refer to the weekly Sabbath as the Shabbat; other holy days are now called festivals, feasts, holy days or holidays.

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High Holy Days: 3

Year Rosh Hashanah* Yom Kippur
5757 AM 96-SEP-23 96-OCT-02
5758 AM 97-OCT-02 97-0CT-11
5759 98-SEP-21 98-SEP-30
5760 99-SEP-11 99-SEP-20
5761 00-SEP-30 00-OCT-09
5762 01-SEP-18 01-SEP-27
5763 02-SEP-07 02-SEP-16
5764 03-SEP-27 03-OCT-06
5765 04-SEP-15 04-SEP-24
5766 05-OCT-03 05-OCT-12
5767 06-SEP-22 06-OCT-01
5768 07-SEP-12 07-SEP-21
5769 08-SEP-29 4 08-OCT-12 5

This essay continues below.

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Other holy days:

Year Sukkot* Hanukkah* Purim Pesach* Shavout*
5757 AM 96-OCT-7 96-DEC-06 97-MAR-23 97-APR-22 97-JUN-11
5758 97-OCT-16 97-DEC-24 98-MAR-12 98-APR-11 98-MAY-31
5759 98-OCT-05 98-DEC-14 99-MAR-02 99-APR-01 99-MAY-21
5760 99-SEP-25 99-DEC-04 00-MAR-21 00-APR-20 00-JUN-09
5761 00-OCT-14 00-DEC-22 01-MAR-09 01-APR-09 01-MAY-28
5762 01-OCT-02 01-DEC-10 02-FEB-26 02-MAR-28 02-MAY-17
5763 02-SEP-21 02-NOV-30 03-MAR-28 03-APR-17 03-JUN-06
5764 03-OCT-11 03-DEC-20 04-MAR-07 04-APR-06 04-MAY-26
5765 04-SEP-30 04-DEC-08 05-MAR-25 05-APR-24 05-JUN-13
5766 05-OCT-18 05-DEC-26 06-MAR-14 06-APR-13 06-JUN-02
5767 06-OCT-07 06-DEC-16 07-MAR-04 07-APR-03 07-MAY-23
5768 07-OCT-04 07-DEC-05 08-MAR-21 08-APR-20 08-JUN-09
5769 AM 08-OCT-14 08-DEC-22      

* First day

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Description of the seven holy days:

Date/Month Name Alternative name and meaning
1st of Tishri Rosh Hashanah; "Head of the Year" The Jewish New Year, and the anniversary of the completion of creation. 
10th of Tishri Yom Kippur; "Day of Atonement" A day of fasting and praying which occurs 10 days after the first day of Rosh Hashanah. The holiest day in the year. 
15th of Tishri Sukkot; "Season of our rejoicing; Feast of Tabernacles" The Feast of Booths is an 8 day harvest festival; a time of thanksgiving. This was considered the most important Jewish festival in 1st cent. CE
25th of Kislev Hanukkah, Chanukah; "Feast of Dedication" The Feast of Lights is an 8 day Feast of Dedication. It recalls the war fought by the Maccabees in the cause of religious freedom. 
14th of Adar Purim; "Feast of Lots" The Feast of Lots recalls the defeat by Queen Esther of the plan to slaughter all of the Persian Jews, circa 400 BCE. 
15th Nissan Pesach; "Passover The 8 day festival recalls the exodus of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt circa 1300 BCE. A holiday meal, the Seder, is held at home.
6th of Sivan; 50 days after Pesach Shavouth; "Festival of Weeks" Pentacost (a.k.a. Feast of Weeks) recalls God's revelation of the Torah to the Jewish people. 

Rules for calculating Rosh Hashanah and Passover are available online at: http://quasar.as.utexas.edu/

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Reasonable care has been taken to prepare this list. Sources often differ, so check elsewhere if the precise date is important.

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The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Stephen M Wylen, "Holidays mark victory of light over darkness," The Bergen Record, 1999-DEC-2
  2. Seymour Rossel, "Basic Judaism: Jewish Holy Days," at: http://www.rossel.net/
  3. Bill Jeffery, "AST 309--Time: Easter, Rosh Hashanah and Passover," University of Texas, Austin, at: http://quasar.as.utexas.edu/
  4. Fact Monster, "Rosh Hashanah is Jewish New Year," at: http://www.factmonster.com/
  5. Fact Monster, "What is Yom Kippur?," at: http://www.factmonster.com/

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Copyright © 1996 to 2005 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Last update: 2005-DEC-01
Author: B.A. Robinson

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