2021 is upon us! I know that if you are new to celebrating the feast days of the Lord, figuring out or deciding what calendar to use can be difficult. There are so many opinions and things to consider in terms of finding the right calendar to use. I know I was stressed out for the last few years concerning this, and maybe you are too.
My family and I use the traditional calendar for the Hebrew and High Holidays. This is the calendar that is based on the New Moon and the one that the Jews use. I like this calendar because I believe it best represents the Biblical calendar.
There are many strong opinions on what calendar to use and many things people take into consideration – the book of Enoch, the sun standing still for Joshua, calendar changes with the Julian and Georgian calendars, the Full Moon or the New Moon, etc. I personally believe that we shouldn’t have to take the whole calendar history of the world into consideration in order to pick the one that we should use now. Eventually, Jesus will help us to all be on the right calendar. For now, I believe we should pray for guidance on which calendar to use, pick one, then celebrate the feast days with joy and gladness.
Overview of the Hebrew and High Holidays
Purim is the first Hebrew holiday of this calendar year. This is the story of Esther and Mordecai. This holiday is the celebration that our people were not destroyed under the decree of Artaxerxes by Haman following the Babylonian Captivity. This is not a holiday commanded by God, but one instituted by Mordecai. It is a holiday that Mordecai commanded that the Hebrews and their posterity should celebrate forever. Some people celebrate this holiday, others don’t. We celebrate it because we love to remember the time the Lord saved our people from destruction.
Biblical New Year
The true new year begins in the Spring. We are not commanded to celebrate the new year, but knowing when the year begins helps us to determine when all the other High Holidays occur.
Passover is the time when we take communion and remember when Jesus went to the cross for our sins.
This is the seven-day feasting holiday where we clean and remove leavening from our homes. Leavening is a symbol for sin in our lives. During this time we focus on our relationship with the Lord and remember our time in Egpyt and the freedom we now have in Jesus. The first and last days of the Feast of Unleavened bread are sabbath rest days, where we do not do any work.
The Feast of First Fruits is the day Jesus rose from the dead! This is a day of celebration that we have a wonderful Savior and that our sins are atoned for forever! This day is usually on Easter, which makes some Torah Keepers a little uncomfortable. Don’t be! This is a joyous day. On this day, we start to count seven Sabbaths or 50 days to reach the next High Holiday!
Second Passover is something I never knew about until a few years ago. This is a day for people who were not able to celebrate the Passover on the 14th of Nissan, for reasons of uncleanness or because they were traveling (Numbers 9: 1- 14). Ideally, you want to keep Passover on the 14th of the first month – Nissan, but if you cannot, you can keep the second Passover- which is exactly one month later in the month of Iyar. You won’t keep the Feast of Unleavened bread during this time, just the Passover.
The Feast of Weeks or Shavuot is fifty days following the Feast of First Fruits. This is the time when the wheat harvest would start. We would gather our wheat harvest and present two loaves of bread to the Lord for an offering. Today we love to bake two loaves of bread and celebrate the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai and the giving of the Holy Spirit – both of which happened on this day! This is a day of rest.
Yom Teruah or the Feast of Trumpets is the first of the Fall Feasts of the Lord. This holiday is on the first of the seventh month and is a day of joy and gladness. It is a day to remember the goodness of God. This day is a day to sound the Shofar or trumpets and a day of rest.
Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement. This was a solemn day, and the only day that the Hebrews could have their sins atoned for. Now, because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for us, our sins are atoned for if we accept him as our Savior and Lord. This is a day of strict rest. Some fast on this day, others do not. Pray and decide what to do for you and your family.
The Feast of Tabernacles is the time when we build and dwell in booths for seven days. We are commanded to dwell in booths to remember the time the Hebrews lived in booths for 40 years following the Exodus. This is also the time believed that Jesus was born! The first day and the eighth day are Sabbath rest days.
The Festival of Lights is the time to light the menorah and remember the victory that God gave us over the Greeks by the hand of the Maccabees. This is a time of feasting and joy. This holiday is again not a commanded holiday by God, so as a result, some choose not to celebrate it. We love to celebrate Hanukkah and to remember the victories of our forefathers!
I hope you find this printable for the 2021 Hebrew and High Holidays useful. Let me know which Hebrew or High Holiday that you are most excited for! Shalom!