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The Jewish Calendar

The Jews have a Civil and a Sacred Calendar. The Civil Calendar is the Official Calendar for kings, childbirth and contracts. The Sacred Calendar is used for computing the dates of religious feasts and festivals. Very similar to the Chinese system of dates.

It is based on the lunar cycle, not the solar cycle used in the Gregorian or modern calendar. Psalm 104:19 says "He appointed the moon for seasons; the sun knows its going down."

Since the Jewish Calendar is based on the moon cycle, the arrival of the new moon is a crucial event. In ancient times, three witnesses were needed to confirm when the first sliver of the moon was visible.

At that time a fire was lit on the Mount of Olives to signal others watching to light fires on the surrounding hills until the message was spread throughout Israel that a new month had begun.

Month and moon are the same word in Hebrew: chodesh. Thus the first day of a new month is called Rosh Chodesh - head of the month. It is noted as a special day (Numbers 28:11-14). The New Month is Rosh Chodesh. It is noted as a special day (Numbers 28:11-14). The Full Month is two weeks later which is the 15th of the Month. Note that there are 2 days of Rosh Chodesh in the months of 29 days.

The Jewish Calendar has only 354 days. Every three years, there is an additional month of Nisan to ensure that the times and seasons remained accurate. There will be two Nisan months on this year with 13 months.

Month Civil Calendar

Before Exodus 12

Sacred Calendar

After Exodus 12

Number Of days Rosh
1st day of the Month
Tishri 1st Month 7th Month 30 Sep 27
Cheshvan (Bul) 2nd Month 8th Month 29 or 30 Oct 26-27
Kislev 3rd Month 9th Month 29 or 30 Nov 25-26
Tevet 4th Month 10th Month 29 Dec 25-26
Sh’vat 5th Month 11th Month 30 Jan 24
Adar 6th Month 12th Month 29 or 30 Feb 22-23
Aviv (Nisan) 7th Month 1st Month 30 Mar 23
Iyyar 8th Month 2nd Month 29 Apr 21-22
Sivan 9th Month 3rd Month 30 May 21
Tamuz 10th Month 4th Month 29 Jun 19-20
Av 11th Month 5th Month 30 Jul 19
Elul 12th Month 6th Month 29 Aug 17-18

A comparison of a same date Aviv 17 by both calendars:

Civil Calendar Sacred Calendar
Aviv 17 Aviv 17
Before Exodus 12 After Exodus 12
Noah’s Flood in Genesis 7-8 Hezekiah in 2 Chr. 29:2-20
Rain began 17th of the second month Chesvan (Genesis 7:11), and by 150 days (5 months) later, the Ark landed at the Mount Ararat on 17th day of 7th month (Genesis 8:4) Offered first sacrifice after cleansing the Temple (2 Chr 29:18-20) on the day after the 16th day of the 1st month.

All holidays begin at sundown on the day before the date listed.

Year (5764)


Rosh Hashanah
New Year/ Feast of Trumpets
1-2 Tishri

Sept 27-28

Yom Kippur
Day of Atonement
10 Tishri

Oct 6

Feast of Tabernacles
15-21 Tishri

Oct 11-17

Shemini Atzeret
Feast of Gatherings
22 Tishri

Oct 18

Simchat Torah
Rejoicing in the Torah
23 Tishri

Oct 19

Feast of Lights
25 Kislev - 2 Tevet

Dec 20-27

Feast of Lots
14 Adar

Mar 7

14-21 Nisan

April 6-13

Feast of Unleavened Bread
15 Nisan

April 7

Feast of Firstfruits
17 Nisan

April 9

Pentecost/Latter First Fruits
6 Sivan

May 26-27