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Astro*Dictionary by Michael Erlewine





1 article for "Hebrew Calendar"

Hebrew Calendar [Astro*Index]

The adopted epoch for the Jewish calendar is BC3761 OCT 07, which is taken as the date of Creation. The ancient Jewish calendar contained 12 months, each of which began with the first appearance of the crescent Moon at sunset, and with an intercalary month inserted at at non- regular intervals (by repeating the 12th month). In various countries, the year began with either the spring month Nisan, or with the autumn month Tishri. During the 4th century AD, the ancient calendar was replaced with the modern fixed calendar, which is regulated by the 19-year cycle introduced by the Babylonians about BC380. The new calendar is determined from the time of the mean New Moon in a cycle of complex rules, designed to prevent certain holy days from falling on inconvenient days of the week. In each 19-year cycle, there are 12 common years (of 353, 354, or 355 days) and 7 embolismic, or leap, years (of 383, 384, or 385 days). Each month has 29 or 30 days. The principal dates in the Jewish ecclisiatical calendar occur on fixed dates of the months, as follows:

Tishri01— New Year (Rosh Hashanah)
Tishri10— Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur)
Tishri15— First Day of Tabernacles (Succoth)
Nisan15— First Day of Passover (Pesach)
Sivan06— Feast of Weeks (Shebuoth)
Sivan 06 is fixed at 50 days after Passover.

Gregorian calendar equivalents for the months of the Jewish calendar see in the table Hebrew Calendar. In ancient times, Nisan was called Abib, the first month of the postexilic calendar, and was sometimes called the first month of the ecclesiastical year.


The months of the Jewish calendar, with their approximate Gregorian calendar equivalents, are as follows:


DEC06Elul 29


In leap years, Adar is followed by Veadar or Adar Shemi, an intercalary month of 29 days.


See also:
♦ Crescent Moon ♦ Gregorian Calendar ♦ Leap Year


Astro*Index Copyright © 1997 Michael Erlewine