<problems with displaying this page try the old one.>

The liturgical calendar of the Jews today contains more feasts than those commanded in the Torah.  Religious observance tends to get more numerous and complicated the longer people have to build on them.  Having said that, the additions are understandable as some serve to reinforce the pattern of G-d's deliverance of his people. Other of the additions celebrate or commemorate other events in the history of the Jewish People--some bad some good. 

This page presents the Jewish feasts from a more Jewish perspective.  For the Christian perspective on the Jewish feast and the Jewish calendar see Jewish Calendar.  The feasts in yellow are the great pilgrimage feasts of the Torah.  At these every man, who is able, is to appear in Jerusalem

Jewish Calendar of Feasts
Spring Feasts
Feast  Description  Reference  Date
Hebrew English
Pesach Passover Passover is the first of the seven Biblically-mandated feasts and begins the liturgical year. Passover commemorates G-d's deliverance of his people, Israel, from the 10 th plague in Egypt--the killing of the first born.  Each family of Israel applied the blood of a lamb to the door posts of their home, and the angel of death "passed over" their homes, sparing them from the plague.  This last plague was so terrible that Pharaoh finally did let the Israelites leave Egypt. Ex 12.1-13.10
Lev 23.5
Deut 16.1
Nisan 14
Matzot Unleavened Bread Remembering how the L-rd brought the Israelites out of Egypt in haste. They took the dough in the kneading trough before the yeast was added (Ex 12.34). Ex 12.15-20, 39
Lev 23.6-8
Deut 16.3
Nisan 15-21

7 days of Passover

Bikkurim Firstfruits Recognize the L-rd's bounty in the land. (Beginning of harvest.) Lev 23.9-14 Nissan 16
Yom Hashoah   "Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day"    Nisan 27
Yom Ha'atzmaut   Israel independence day, commemorating its declaration of independence in 1948.   Iyar 5


Feast of Weeks

Show joy and thankfulness for the Lord's blessing of harvest. (Ending of Harvest) Deut 16.9-12 Sivan 6
(50 days after Passover)
Tish b'Av 9th of Av

The fast commemorates the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem, which occurred about 656 years apart, but on the same date.  Accordingly, the day has been called the "saddest day in Jewish history".

According to the Mishnah (Taanit 4:6), the day commemorates five events: the destruction of the Temples, the return of the twelve scouts sent by Moses to observe the land of Canaan, the razing of Jerusalem following the siege of Jerusalem in 70 CE, and the failure of Bar Kokhba's revolt against the Roman Empire.

In more modern times the expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290 and the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 also occurred on Tish b'Av.

The fast is not commanded in the Torah but it was observed in Bible times see Zechariah 7.3, 7.5, 8.17 Av 9

The new year for the tithing of animals:

According to the Mishnah this was the new year for animal tithes. It was used to determine the start date for the animal tithe to the priestly class in ancient Israel, similar to how we use April 15th in the US as tax day. Generally this new year is no longer observed, although the month of Elul does mark the beginning of preparations for Rosh Hashanah. (http://judaism.about.com 7/13/15)

Leviticus 27.30-33 Elul 1
Fall Feasts
Rosh Hashanah Trumpets
(Commonly called
Jewish New Year)
Present Israel before the L-rd.

Also the day of the creation of the world.

Num. 29.1-6
Leviticus 23.24-25
Tishri 1,2
Yamim Noraim Days of Awe 10 days of repentance and renewal that begin with Rosh Hashanah and close with Yom Kippur, the solemn Day of Atonement    
Yom Kippur Day of Atonement Cleanse priests and people from their sins and purify the Holy Place. Lev 23.26-32 Tishri 10
Sukkot Booths Memorialize the journey from Egypt to Canaan and the giving of Torah.   Tishri 15-22
Simchat Torah Rejoicing in the Torah Simchat Torah means "Rejoicing in the Torah." This holiday marks the completion of the annual cycle of weekly Torah readings. Each week in synagogue we publicly read a few chapters from the Torah, starting with Genesis Ch. 1 and working our way around to Deuteronomy 34. On Simchat Torah, we read the last Torah portion, then proceed immediately to the first chapter of Genesis, reminding us that the Torah is a circle, and never ends. (http://www.jewfaq.org/)   Tishri 23
Chanukah Dedication Festival of rededication, also known as the festival of lights-Rededication of the Temple by Jud as Maccabee in 165 BC. The story of the miricle of Chanukah is in the Talmud. The books of the Maccabees tell the history of the time. (See http://www.chabad.org/ ) 1 Mac. 4.56–59 Kislev 25
(8 days)
Tu Bishevat   New year for trees.  (Fruit from a newly planted tree is forbidden for the first three years according to Lev 19.23, this day standardizes the counting of those years.) Lev 19.23 Shevat 15
Ta'anit Ester Fast of Esther Purim celebrates the story of how a Jewish girl, Esther, became queen and saved the Jewish people from Hamon's plot.  Esther and her maids fasted before she went into the King and this fast commemorates her fast.  It is on Adar 13 unless that falls on a Sabbath at which point it is held on the Thursday prior. Esther 4 Adar 13
Purim Lots Commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people of the ancient Persian Empire from Haman's plot to annihilate them, as recorded in the Biblical Book of Esther. Esther Adar 14, 15
*The three pilgrimage feasts for which all males of Israel were required to travel to the Temple in Jerusalem (Ex 2314-19)