Jewish Feasts and Festivals

by Matt Slick

There are many Jewish feasts and festivals.  Following is a chart compiled from several resources that list them out. 

 

JEWISH FEASTS AND FESTIVALS

NAME

MONTH: DATE

REFERENCE

SIGNIFICANCE

Passover

Nisan (Mar./Apr.): 14–21

Exod. 12:2–20; Lev 23:5

Commemorates God’s deliverance of Israel out of Egypt.

Unleavened Bread

Nisan (Mar./Apr.): 15–21

Lev. 23:6–8

Commemorates God’s deliverance of Israel out of Egypt. Includes a Day of Firstfruits for the barley harvest.  For 7 days unleavened bread was eaten.

First Fruits
(Reshit Kitzir)
Nisan (Mar./Apr.) 22 Lev. 23:11 For acknowledging the fertility of the land that God gave the Israelites.

Pentecost
(Feast of Weeks, or Harvest)

Sivan (May/June): 6 (seven weeks after Passover)

Exod. 23:16; 34:22; Lev 23:15–21

Commemorates the giving of the law at Mount Sinai. Includes a Day of Firstfruits for the wheat harvest.  Marked by offering of sacrifices.

Trumpets
(Rosh Hashanah)

Tishri (Sept./Oct.): 1

Lev, 23:23–25; Num. 29:1–6

Day of the blowing of the trumpets to signal the beginning of the civil new year.  Hard labor ceased during this time.

Day of Atonement
(Yom Kippur)

Tishri (Sept./Oct.): 10

Lev. 23:26–33; Exod. 30:10

On this day the high priest makes atonement for the nation’s sin. Also a day of fasting.  It is only observed once a year (Ex 30:10).

Feast of Booths, or Tabernacles (Sukkot)

Tishri (Sept./Oct.): 15–21

Lev. 23:33–43; Num. 29:12–39; Deut. 16:13

Lasts seven days, commemorates the forty years of wilderness wandering where the people dwelt in booths made of branches and boughs of trees.  Jesus attended this feast (John 7:2-14).

Dedication
Festival of Lights (Hanukkah)

Kislev (Nov./Dec.): 25–30; and Tebeth (Dec/Jan.): 1–2

John 10:22

Commemorates the purification of the temple by Judas Maccabaeus in 164/167 B.C.  Lasted 8 days. Mentioned in John 10:22.

Purim

Adar (Feb./Mar.): 14-15

Esther 9

Established by Mordecai, commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people in the days of Esther.

This chart was compiled from the following sources.

  • Smith, Marsha A. Ellis, June Swann, Trent C. Butler, Christopher L. Church, and David S. Dockery. Holman Book of Biblical Charts, Maps, and Reconstructions. Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1993.
  • Wood, D. R. W., and I. Howard Marshall. New Bible Dictionary. Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996.
  • Bromiley, Geoffrey W., ed. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised. Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1979–1988.
  • Elwell, Walter A., and Barry J. Beitzel. Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988.
  • http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Holidays/Introduction/introduction.html
 
 

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.