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The Jewish Calendar and Religious Festivals

Julian Spriggs M.A.

The Jewish calendar was arranged around the different religious festivals which were commanded in the law of Moses. Each of these was linked to various stages in the agricultural year. This chart lists each of the months of the Jewish year and the western equivalent, together with the agricultural seasons and Jewish festivals.

Month Season Special Days
1 Nisan (Abib)
start of religious year
March - April Flax harvest
Spring rains
Passover (Ex 12, Lev 23:5)
Unleavened Bread * (Lev 23:6)
Passover - last day (Lev 23:8)
2 Iyyar April - May Barley harvest
Dry season starts
14th Later Passover (Num 9:11)
3 Sivan May - June Early figs ripen 6th Pentecost * (Weeks, Harvest)
(Lev 23:15, Deut 16:9)
(7 weeks after Passover)
4 Tammuz June - July Grape harvest
5 Ab July - Aug Early olive harvest
Summer wheat
6 Elul Aug - Sept Dates
Summer figs
7 Tishri
start of civil year
Sept - Oct First rains
(former rains)

Trumpets (Lev 23:24)
Day of Atonement (Lev 16:29, 23:27)
Tabernacles * (Booths, Ingathering)
(Lev 23:34, Deut 16:13)
Tabernacles - last day
8 Marchesvan Oct - Nov Late olive harvest
Winter figs
9 Kislev Nov - Dec Sowing 25th Feast of Light (Hanukkah)
(1 Macc 4:52,59)
(Dedication of the temple)
10 Tebeth Dec - Jan Rains and snow
(latter rains)
11 Shebat Jan - Feb Almond blossom
12 Adar Feb - March Citrus fruit harvest 14th Feast of Purim (Esther 9:16)
13 Ve-Adar
(leap month)
Once every three years

* "Three times a year all your males shall appear before the LORD your God at the place that he will chose: at the festival of unleavened bread, at the festival of weeks, and at the festival of booths" (Deut 16:16, also Ex 23:14-17)