Jewish Holiday List
From the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur to the eight-day celebration of Hanukkah, a typical Jewish holiday list normally spans from March through December when using a secular calendar. But because the Jewish calendar is different, holidays can be hard to keep track of from year to year as the dates in a secular calendar move around.
2021 Jewish Holiday List
When are Jewish holidays this year? Use our updated Jewish holiday list to plan your celebrations and share traditions with family and friends. The following major holidays are happening in 2021 (Jewish Years 5781-5782). Note that holidays begin at sundown of the previous day.
Tu B’shevat - January 8
Purim — February 26
The Festival of Lots recalls the rescue of the Jews of Ancient Persia from annihilation at the hands of Haman, who cast lots to choose this day for his plot to kill the Jews. Queen Esther and her uncle, Mordechai, foiled his plan.
On Purim, the Megillah of Esther is read, and the holiday is celebrated with festivity, costumes, and noisemakers. Hamantashen are the traditional food, mishloach manot (gift packages) are exchanged, and money is given to the poor.
Each year, the Women’s Philanthropy program hosts a “Pack a Bag of Love” event to pack and deliver care packages to community members who are homebound or living in care facilities.
Pesach / Passover — March 28 to April 4
The Exodus of the Jews from Egypt is celebrated with the eight-day festival of Passover. Ridding the home of chametz (leavened food) and eating only unleavened items commemorate the haste in which the former slaves fled Egypt, leaving them too little time for their bread dough to rise. Jews retell the story of the Exodus during their Passover Seders.
Yom Hashoah - April 8
Also known as “Holocaust Remembrance Day,” Yom HaShoah is marked by memorials and dedications to those who perished in the Holocaust.
Each year, the St. Louis Kaplan Feldman Holocaust Museum hosts a commemoration to honor survivors and remember the victims of the Holocaust. St. Louis survivors share eyewitness accounts of the Shoah, followed by music, liturgical readings, and prayers.
Yom Hazikaron - April 14
Yom Ha’atzmaut - April 15
Yom Yerushalayim - May 10
Shavuot — May 17-18
This holiday marks the end of the Counting of the Omer. It recalls Moses’ receiving of the Torah. The Megillah of Ruth is read, and all-night Torah study is customary. Dairy food, honey, and floral decorations are traditional.
Find recipes for Shavuot dishes, desserts and cocktails.
Tisha B’av - July 18
Rosh Hashanah — September 7-8
Yom Kippur — September 16
Sukkot — September 21-27
Shemini Atzeret — September 28
Simchat Torah — September 29
Chanukah / Hanukkah — November 29 to December 6
In 167 BCE, the Maccabees led a band of Jews in a successful battle against the occupying Syrian-Greeks, who had desecrated the Second Temple’s eternal light. Miraculously, one day’s supply of oil lasted eight days, until more could be found. The Chanukah menorah is lit for eight nights to celebrate that miracle. Children play dreidel, and foods fried in oil are customary.
Past events include YPD’s LollapaJEWza, the Hanukkah Hugs toy drive by Women’s Philanthropy, and the many virtual celebrations of Hanukkah 2020. Women’s Philanthropy also hosts an annual “Pack a Bag of Love” event for Hanukkah, as well as for Purim.
For minor holidays, fasts and more, find Jewish holiday lists for the current and coming years using the Hebcal website.
Celebrating with Federation
The holidays are a perfect time to connect with loved ones and others in the Jewish community. Many of our programs and services host holiday-related gatherings for all to enjoy. Don’t forget to check our upcoming events for additional festivities.
Jewish Holiday Happenings in St. Louis
If you’re looking for Jewish holiday services or resources in St. Louis, we’ve gathered helpful links from local organizations.
- Learn more about each holiday and how to celebrate with the Jewish holiday list and guides from Congregation Temple Israel.
- See upcoming events using the Jewish in St. Louis Community Calendar.
- Browse Recipes for the High Holidays from STL Jewish Light.
- Tune into online Rhythm ‘n’ Ruach holiday events for the whole family! See upcoming events over on Jewish in St. Louis.
- Check out the WashUHillel site to see what’s planned for students during Hanukkah and other holidays.
Holidays at St. Louis Synagogues
Find holiday schedules and events for specific congregations by going to their websites. Use our online directory to get started!