Hanukkah vs Passover: Difference and Comparison

Judaism is one of the widespread religions followed throughout the world. The festivals observed by Jewish are followed according to the Hebrew calendar.

Passover and Hanukkah are the two most famous festivals celebrated throughout the world. These two festivals are observed for different duration of days.

Key Takeaways

  1. Hanukkah, an eight-day Jewish festival, commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple, while Passover celebrates the Israelites’ liberation from Egyptian slavery.
  2. Hanukkah features the lighting of the menorah, whereas Passover includes the Seder meal with symbolic foods.
  3. Hanukkah occurs in December, while Passover occurs between March and April.

Hanukkah vs Passover

Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is celebrated in December and honors the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem after it was reclaimed from the Syrian-Greek army. Passover is celebrated in the spring and commemorates the Jews’ liberation from slavery in ancient Egypt.

Hanukkah vs Passover

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Hanukkah is celebrated for eight conservative days. It is observed on the 25th day of Kislev, a month of the Hebrew calendar. On Hanukkah, nine candles are lit in the nine branches of a candelabra for consecutive days.

Passover is celebrated on the 15th day of Nisan. Contrary to Hebrew Bible, Jews settled in old Egypt when Jacob’s son Joseph founded one of the 12 Israelian tribes.

The Passover meal is popularly known as the seder.

Comparison Table

Parameter of comparisonHanukkahPassover
DefinitionHanukkah is a Jewish festival to represent the joy of supervision over Jerusalem.Passover is a major Jewish festival to represent freedom from Egyptian slavery.
ReasonHanukkah represents the joy when Maccabean Jews attained the supervision of Jerusalem.Jews settle in old Egypt when Jacob’s son Joseph founded one of the 12 Israelian tribes.
OccurrenceHanukkah is celebrated on the 25th day of Kislev.Passover is observed on the 15th day of Nisan.
Celebration daysHanukkah is celebrated for 8 consecutive days.Passover is celebrated for 7 consecutive days.
Major/Minor festivalHanukkah is a minor Jewish festival.Passover is one of the major Jewish festivals.

What is Hanukkah?

Hanukkah is one of the minor festivals celebrated by Jews. The word “Hanukkah” means “to dedicate” and is celebrated because Maccabean Jews attained the supervision of Jerusalem.

According to the Hebrew calendar, Hanukkah is observed from the 25th day of Kislev. In the Gregorian calendar, Kislev may lie from mid-November to mid-December.

Hanukkah is celebrated by lighting nine candles in the nine branches of a candelabra. This type of candelabra is popularly known as a menorah or Hanukkah.

A single candle branch is commonly positioned either above or below the others. This extraordinary candle is known as shamash and is used to lighten up the remaining eight candles.

A candle is lit beside Shammash every night after Kislev until all eight candles are lighted. Hanukkah has gained crucial cultural importance in North America and areas containing secular Jews.


What is Passover?

Passover is one of the prominent Jewish festivals observed throughout the world. It is celebrated because the Israelites escaped from slavery in Egypt.

According to the Hebrew calendar, Passover is celebrated on the 15th day of Nisan. The first month of Aviv or spring is Nisan.

Contrary to the Hebrew Bible, Jews settled in old Egypt when Jacob’s son Joseph founded one of the 12 Israelian tribes.

Joseph migrated with his family because of a drastic famine in Canaan, their homeland.

As mentioned in the Holy Book of Exodus, God has ordered the Jews Prophet to advise all the Israelites to signify the lamb’s blood on their doors.

This will save them from the Angel of Death as the angel will leave them, and they will remain untouched. The hyssop was assigned to Mark, the slaughtered sheep’s blood on the doors and boundaries.

This will guarantee that the devil’s powers will not arrive at the house.

The dead children were saved by the pharaoh’s daughter and were recognized by an Egyptian royal family. The pharaoh’s daughter was provided with the name ” Moses,” which means one who is pulled out.

When Jacob attained his adulthood, Moses came to know about Jacob’s genuine identity and the Egyptian’s harsh treatment of his companion Hebrews.

He killed an Egyptian master and departed to the Sinai Peninsula. There he lived as a modest shepherd for the remaining 40 years.

According to the Hebrew Bible, Moses attains an announcement from their God to move again to Egypt and exempt his kin from enslavement.

Along with Jacob’s brother, Aaron, Moses moved towards the reigning Pharaoh. This reigning Pharaoh is unnamed in the biblical edition of the story.

passover meal

Main Difference between Hanukkah and Passover

  1. Hanukkah is observed as a minor festival of Jews, whereas Passover is observed as a major festival.
  2. Hanukkah is celebrated on the 25th day of Kislev. Also, Passover is observed on the 15th day of Nisan.
  3. In Passover, hyssop was assigned to Mark, the slaughtered sheep’s blood on the doors and boundaries. In contrast, Hanukkah is observed with a lightning candle.
  4. Passover is observed with a seder, the Passover meal. While in Hanukkah, a candle is lighted beside Shammash until all eight candles are lighted.
  5. One of the Jewish’s largely significant Passover rituals is eliminating all chametz from their houses. Chametz is basically a leavened food product.
Difference Between Hanukkah and Passover
  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=6JAeAAAAIAAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PR13&dq=jewish+passover&ots=qS3xNQKP0M&sig=rEkyqnhcwh2Fk4e72UVeOA0I2ZQ
  2. https://www.jstor.org/stable/43042325

Last Updated : 10 October, 2023

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