Are we the luckiest people around this 2016 or what?
I mean, we get to have Chrismukkah instead of Thanksgivvikah this year! We get to also have New Year’s Eve-ikkah too this year!! Ok, I made that up (New Year’s Eve-ikkah)
And, let’s not forget the after-Christmas sales while we are still gifting for Chanukkah. YES!!!!!
Well, Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday, and that means it is based on the Jewish calendar.
In a nut shell, the Jewish calendar is a lunar calendar which means it is based on the moon’s rotation around the earth. The Gregorian calendar is a solar calendar and is based on the earth’s rotation around the sun. Since one calendar is based on the moon and the other is based on the sun, two different cycles are in use.
And two different set of dates.
But, to make things consistent, Hanukkah does begin every year of the Jewish calendar on the same day. The 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev. The 25th of Kislev could fall anywhere from late November to late December on the Gregorian calendar. For example, in 2010, Hanukkah began on December 2. In 2011, it began on December 21, and in 2012, it began on December 9.
That doesn’t totally answer the question of why it changes from year to year. Here’s a bit more information (you know, in case you are playing Trivial Pursuit): since the Jewish calendar is lunar, certain adjustments must be made to the calendar to avoid having months occurring in different seasons. There are basically twelve and a half lunar months in a solar calendar year, making a lunar calendar about eleven days too short (a thirteen-month calendar would be nineteen days too long). To compensate, the Jewish calendar uses a leap month. Hence, the date changes.
We can all save our Chrismukkah t-shirts for 2019, so don’t throw them away or give them to Goodwill. But those Thanksgivvikah shirts, feel free to donate those.