Jewish Holidays and Festivals

What are the Jewish Holy Days?

life in Hebrew
"Life" in Hebrew

Also see:
Jewish Symbols

The history of Judaism is full of incredible stories, which, according to the Hebrew Bible, are important for Jews of all generations to remember. Because the purpose of most of the holidays and festivals in Judaism is to recall God's work in history, they are one of the most important aspects in the religion of Judaism.

Observing holidays and festivals also has important social outcomes. They help to keep tradition alive, contribute to a sense of community and belonging, and ensure regular reflection and celebration.

The most important Jewish holy days are the Sabbath, the three pilgrimage festivals (Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot) and the two High Holy Days (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur). It is forbidden to work on any of these days. (Also see: Jewish beliefs.)

Overview of Jewish Holidays

Jewish Calendar

This page contains information on the dates of Jewish holidays from 2013-2016.

Days of Awe

The Days of Awe are the 10 days from the beginning of Rosh Hashanah to the end of Yom Kippur. This time, which occurs in the autumn, is devoted to introspection, repentance, and atonement for sin.

Hanukkah (the Festival of Lights)

This Jewish holiday is not the "Jewish Christmas" - it historically predates Christmas and is an entirely different celebration.

Passover (Pesach)

Passover is a spring holiday in Judaism, which commemorating the Exodus - the liberation of the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt in the time of Moses.


Purim is a joyful spring Jewish holiday that features a festive meal, gift-giving, costumes, and noisemakers in the synagogue, commemorating Esther.

Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah)

Rosh Hashanah means "head of the year" and is commonly known as the Jewish New Year. This Jewish holiday is a solemn and holy time.

Shabbat (the Sabbath)

Many people know that the Sabbath is Saturday, the day of the week on which Jews are forbidden to work. From the Jewish perspective, the Sabbath is not about rules but about joyful celebration and rest.

Festival of Booths (Sukkot)

Sukkoth is known by several names: the "Festival of the Ingathering" (Khag ha-Asif), the "Festival of Booths" (Khag ha-Sukkot); "The Festival" (Khag), and the "Season of Rejoicing" (Zeman Simkhateinu).

15th of Shevat (Tu B'Shevat)

The Jewish holiday Tu B'Shevat, or the "15th of Shevat," is the New Year for Trees. It is the day chosen to count the age of a newly-planted tree for the purposes of obeying a Levitical law.

The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur)

Yom Kippur, celebrated on the 10th day of Tishri, is the most important and solemn of Jewish holidays. Yom Kippur is the occasion on which otherwise non-observant Jews are most likely to attend synagogue, refrain from work, or fast.

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