What Is a General Description of the Hebrew Calendar System?


Quick Answer

The Hebrew calendar is a lunar-based system, although the solar cycle does have an effect on the calendar in certain years. Like the Gregorian calendar, the Hebrew calendar usually consists of 12 months and seven-day weeks.

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Full Answer

The moon takes approximately 29.5 days to revolve around the Earth; as a result, each Hebrew month lasts either 29 or 30 days. A month in the Hebrew calendar system begins the day after the new moon. The Hebrew calendar's first month is Nissan, which begins at some point in March or April according to the Gregorian calendar. The 12th month is Adar, which usually marks the end of the Hebrew year. However, to offset the discrepancy between lunar months and a solar year, the calendar sometimes adds a 13th month called Adar II.

Years in the Hebrew calendar system are calculated from the supposed year of creation. Therefore, this calendar does not have a B.C. and A.D. binary system as does the Gregorian calendar. Unlike the Gregorian calendar, the Hebrew calendar has two days dedicated to celebrating a new year. Nisan 1 is the day of the civil new year. Tishri 1, which occurs in September or October, is the beginning of the agricultural new year and the High Holidays, which include Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

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