February 27, 2012

Purim, festival of joy: When is it?

Felegosh, my havruta (Aramaic: study partner) 
 at the Bnei Akiva Purim party in Atlanta, Georgia

QUESTION [via email]: Tamar, I wanted to ask you the dates of Purim — would you know?

ANSWER: Thanks for asking. Purim falls on Adar 14 (and in Jerusalem and all ancient walled cities, it falls on  Adar 15). Adar is the sixth month of the religious year and the twelfth month of the civil year in the Hebrew calendar, also called the Jewish calendar.

For those who follow the Gregorian calendar year (which runs from January 1 to December 31), in 2012, Purim starts on Thursday, March 8, and continues for two days until Friday, March 9. In the Hebrew calender, a day begins at sunset on the previous day, so Jews will celebrate Purim at sunset on Wednesday, March 7.

We mark the date of Jewish holidays according to the Hebrew calendar, and therefore the corresponding date in the Gregorian calendar year is not the same each year. (The same is true for Muslim holidays, which follow the Muslim calendar, and do not start on the same Gregorian calendar date each year.)

In the same way that Christmas is always December 25, Purim is always Adar 14.

It takes some getting used to the different calendars among religions and belief systems. All this is an aspect of differences among cultures, traditions, and world views among members of the human family. Happy Purim!

My other Purim posts

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