Tonight is the seventh night of Hanukkah. Only tomorrow night remains and then it’s all over until…when?

Hanukkah 2009 begins at sundown on December 11! It’s gonna be great; that means that next year, I’ll be done celebrating Hanukkah just as the last-minute Christmas shoppers are just getting revved up. Confused? Let me explain.

While Christmas falls on the same day of the Gregorian calendar each year, Hanukkah is different…on the GREGORIAN calendar. On the Hebrew calendar, Hanukkah actually does fall on the very same day annually: the 25th day of the month Kislev.

The Hebrew calendar is different from the Gregorian (January-December) calendar. In order to make a long story short, some of the differences between the two calendars, with the help of Wikipedia:

**The Hebrew Calendar is a lunar calendar; the Gregorian calendar is a solar calendar.

**Though there are still seven days per week on a Hebrew calendar, the Jewish day runs from sunset to sunset rather than 12:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. as on the Gregorian calendar.

**Because the lunar months are twenty-nine or thirty days long, the Hebrew calendar adds an extra month every two to three years. The month that is added is Adar I, which follows Shevat and precedes the original Adar, or Adar II, on those years.

**Currently we are in the year 5769 on the Hebrew calendar, because the Hebrew calendar year counts from the Creation year and is designated as 5769 Anno Mundi (in the year of the world) or A.M., rather than our Gregorian year of 2008 Anno Domini (in the year of our Lord) or A.D.

So although it makes no sense to people who have never heard of the Hebrew calendar or don’t know how it works, now you know why the Jewish holidays always seem so scattered all over the place.

The dates for Hanukkah for 2010-2015 give you an idea how willy-nilly our holiday seems; every few years it even begins in November!

Hanukkah dates:
* Wednesday December 1 in 2010
* Tuesday December 20 in 2011
* Saturday December 8 in 2012
* Wednesday November 27 in 2013
* Tuesday December 16 in 2014
* Sunday December 6 in 2015

Maybe I should start my holiday cards for next year now