Hanukkah, also spelled Chanukah, is a Jewish holiday sometimes known as the Festival of Lights. It’s an eight day festival beginning on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev. This year, Hanukkah is observed from sunset, December 6th to nightfall December 14th.
Hanukkah marks the victory of the Jews over the forces of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, and the rededication of the desecrated Temple in Jerusalem. According to the Talmud, there was only enough consecrated oil to fuel the eternal flame in the Temple for one day, but the lights burned for eight days. The festival is observed by lighting candles of the Menorah, one additional light on each night of the holiday, progressing to eight on the final night.
Learn more about Hanukkah on our page of holiday links.
The Thanksgiving holiday originated with the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony who celebrated the harvest of 1621 with a multi-day feast. Despite its early beginnings, Thanksgiving became a Federal holiday only in 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the final Thursday in November to be Thanksgiving Day. In 1939 President Franklin Roosevelt declared that Thanksgiving would be observed on the second to last Thursday of the month. That year November had five Thursdays. Since Thanksgiving signaled the start of the holiday shopping season, Roosevelt wanted to give the economy a boost by providing an extra week of shopping. Not everyone agreed with this decision and in 1941 Congress passed a bill designating Thanksgiving as a national holiday to be celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November.
See our page of links for more about Thanksgiving, including recipes, craft ideas and a list of Thanksgiving Picture Books for the holiday.
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Veterans Day is observed annually on November 11th, the date on which the Armistice ending World War I was signed. In fact, this holiday was known as “Armistice Day.” The name was changed after World War II as the holiday’s focus was expanded to honor veterans of all conflicts. Veterans Day is typically marked by solemn ceremonies of remembrance and parades.
Learn more about Veterans Day on our page of links
Diwali, also known as Deepavali or the Festival of Lights, is an important Hindu festival celebrating the victory of good over evil and light over darkness. Diwali is also celebrated by Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists around the world.
Diwali is celebrated each year in either October or November. This year Diwali falls on November 11th.
Learn more about Diwali from our page of links.
Guy Fawkes Day, also known as Bonfire Night, is celebrated in England as the anniversary of the failure of the Gunpowder Plot, a conspiracy to blow up the Houses of Parliament on November 5, 1605, the day that King James I was to open Parliament. Guy Fawkes was arrested in a cellar beneath the House of Lords with thirty-six barrels of gunpowder. Ultimately many other conspirators were chased, killed, arrested, imprisoned or executed.
The date is traditionally celebrated with bonfires, fireworks, and the burning of cloth effigies or “guys.”
See our page of links for more information about Guy Fawkes Day.