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The Seder Table the ritual feast in the Jewish holiday of Passover which occurs on the 15 Nisan.
Native nameנִיסָן (Hebrew)
CalendarHebrew calendar
Month number1
Number of days30
SeasonSpring (Northern Hemisphere)
Gregorian equivalentMarch–April
Significant days
← Adar
Iyar →

Nisan (or Nissan; Hebrew: נִיסָן, romanizedNīsān from Akkadian: 𒁈, romanized: Nissāni) in the Babylonian and Hebrew calendars is the month of the barley ripening and first month of spring. The name of the month is an Akkadian language borrowing, although it ultimately originates in Sumerian nisag "first fruits". In the Hebrew calendar it is the first month of the ecclesiastical year, called the "first of the months of the year" (Exodus 12:1-2), "first month" (Ex 12:14), and the month of Aviv (Ex 13:4) בְּחֹ֖דֶשׁ הָאָבִֽיב ḥōḏeš hāʾāḇîḇ). It is called Nissān in the Book of Esther. It is a month of 30 days. In the year 2024, 1 Nisan will occur on 9 April. Counting from 1 Tishrei, the civil new year, it would be the seventh month (eighth, in leap year), but in contemporary Jewish culture, both months are viewed as the first and seventh simultaneously, and are referred to as one or the other depending on the specific religious aspects being discussed.

Name and origin

The biblical Hebrew months were given enumerations instead of names. The new moon of Aviv, which in Hebrew means "barley ripening" and by extension "spring season"(Exodus 9:31) is one of the few called both by name and by its number, the first. Nisan and other Akkadian-origin names for the equivalent lunar months in the Babylonian calendar came to be applied to the Hebrew calendar during the Babylonian captivity, in which the month of Aviv's name was Araḫ Nissānu, the "month of beginning".[1]

Holidays and observances

Moveable holidays and observances

In history and tradition

This list is incomplete; you can help by adding missing items. (April 2023)

Table of civil dates when 1 Nisan occurs

The list below gives a time which can be used to determine the day the Jewish ecclesiastical (spring) year starts over a period of nineteen years. These are not Nisan molad times, although the offset necessarily remains constant. (The fractions shown are fractions of a minute.)

17:49 Wednesday, 22 March 2023
15:21 Tuesday, 9 April 2024
00:10 Sunday, 30 March 2025
08:59 Thursday, 19 March 2026
06:31 Wednesday, 7 April 2027
15:20 Sunday, 26 March 2028
00:09 Friday, 16 March 2029
21:41 Wednesday, 3 April 2030
06:30 Monday, 24 March 2031
15:19 Friday, 12 March 2032
12:51 Thursday, 31 March 2033
21:40 Monday, 20 March 2034
19:13 Sunday, 8 April 2035
04:01 Friday, 28 March 2036
12:50 Tuesday, 17 March 2037
10:23 Monday, 5 April 2038
19:12 Friday, 25 March 2039
04:00 Wednesday, 14 March 2040
01:33 Tuesday, 2 April 2041

Every nineteen years this time is 2 days, 16 hours, 33 1/18 minutes later in the week. That is either the same or the previous day in the civil calendar, depending on whether the difference in the day of the week is three or two days. If 29 February is included fewer than five times in the nineteen – year period the date will be later by the number of days which corresponds to the difference between the actual number of insertions and five. If the year is due to start on Sunday, it actually begins on the following Tuesday if the following year is due to start on Friday morning. If due to start on Monday, Wednesday or Friday it actually begins on the following day. If due to start on Saturday, it actually begins on the following day if the previous year was due to begin on Monday morning.

The table below lists, for a Jewish year commencing on 23 March, the civil date of the first day of each month. If the year does not begin on 23 March, each month's first day will differ from the date shown by the number of days that the start of the year differs from 23 March. The correct column is the one which shows the correct starting date for the following year in the last row. If 29 February falls within a Jewish month the first day of later months will be a day earlier than shown.

Civil date of first day of Jewish months
Length of year: 353 days 354 days 355 days 383 days 384 days 385 days
First month 23 March
Second month 22 April
Third month 21 May
Fourth month 20 June
Fifth month 19 July
Sixth month 18 August
Seventh month 16 September
Eighth month 16 October
Ninth month 14 November 15 November 14 November 15 November
Tenth month 13 December 14 December 15 December 13 December 14 December 15 December
Eleventh month 11 January 12 January 13 January 11 January 12 January 13 January
Added month 10 February 11 February 12 February
Twelfth month 10 February 11 February 12 February 12 March 13 March 14 March
First month 11 March 12 March 13 March 10 April 11 April 12 April

For long period calculations, dates should be reduced to the Julian calendar and converted back to the civil calendar at the end of the calculation. The civil calendar used here (Exigian) is correct to one day in 44,000 years and omits the leap day in centennial years which do not give remainder 200 or 700 when divided by 900.[12] It is identical to the Gregorian calendar between 15 October 1582 CE and 28 February 2400 CE (both dates inclusive).[13]

To find how many days the civil calendar is ahead of the Julian in any year from 301 BCE (the calendar is proleptic [assumed] up to 1582 CE) add 300 to the year, multiply the hundreds by 7, divide by 9 and subtract 4. Ignore any fraction of a day. When the difference between the calendars changes the calculated value applies on and from 1 March (civil date) for conversions to Julian. For earlier dates reduce the calculated value by one. For conversions to the civil date the calculated value applies on and from 29 February (Julian date). Again, for earlier dates reduce the calculated value by one. The difference is applied to the calendar one is converting into. A negative value indicates that the Julian date is ahead of the civil date. In this case it is important to remember that when calculating the civil equivalent of 29 February (Julian), 29 February is discounted. Thus if the calculated value is −4 the civil equivalent of this date is 24 February. Before 1 CE use astronomical years rather than years BCE. The astronomical year is (year BCE) – 1.

Up to the 4th century CE, these tables give the day of the Jewish month to within a day or so and the number of the month to within a month or so. From the 4th century, the number of the month is given exactly and from the 9th century the day of the month is given exactly as well.

In the Julian calendar, every 76 years the Jewish year is due to start 5h 47 14/18m earlier, and 3d 18h 12 4/18m later in the week.

Example calculation

On what civil date does the eighth month begin in CE 20874–5?

20874=2026+(248x76). In (248x76) Julian years the Jewish year is due to start (248x3d 18h 12 4/18m) later in the week, which is 932d 2h 31 2/18m or 1d 2h 31 2/18m later after removing complete weeks. Allowing for the current difference of thirteen days between the civil and Julian calendars, the Julian date is 13+(248x0d 5h 47 4/18m) earlier, which is 72d 21h 28 16/18m earlier. Convert back to the civil calendar by applying the formula.

1477/9=164 remainder 1
160d-72d 21h 28 16/18m=87d 2h 31 2/18m.

So, in 20874 CE, the Jewish year is due to begin 87d 2h 31 2/18m later than in 2026 CE and 1d 2h 31 2/18m later in the week. In 20874 CE, therefore, the Jewish year is due to begin at 11.30 3/18 A.M. on Friday, 14 June. Because of the displacements, it actually begins on Saturday, 15 June. Odd months have 30 days and even months 29, so the starting dates are 2, 15 July; 3, 13 August; 4, 12 September; 5, 11 October; 6, 10 November; 7, 9 December, and 8, 8 January.

The rules are based on the theory that Maimonides explains in his book Rabbinical Astronomy.[14][a] The times in the list are those calculated by Gauss[15] with an offset of -14 days as his calculation gives the civil date of Passover rather than the start of the month. Gauss's calculation has been rigorously proved.[16]

Other uses

See also


  1. ^ No allowance is made for the secular (centennial) decrease of ½ second in the length of the mean tropical year and the increase of about four yards in the distance between the Earth and the Moon resulting from tidal friction because astronomy was not sufficiently developed in the 12th century (when Maimonides wrote his book) to detect this.


  1. ^ Muss-Arnolt, W., The Names of the Assyro-Babylonian Months and Their Regents, Journal of Biblical Literature Vol. 11, No. 1 (1892), pp. 72–94 [76], accessed 10 August 2020 (subscription only - free access at [1])
  2. ^ "Vayikra Rabbah 20:2". Retrieved 20 March 2022.
  3. ^ Megillat Ta'anit, fast days; Targum Yonaton, Nu. 20:1.
  4. ^ "Tzadikim". Retrieved 12 December 2023.
  5. ^ Congress, World Jewish. "World Jewish Congress". World Jewish Congress. Retrieved 12 December 2023.
  6. ^ "Tzadikim". Retrieved 12 December 2023.
  7. ^ "Tzadikim". Retrieved 12 December 2023.
  8. ^ (Nisan before Torah, Genesis 8:4, Exodus 12:1)
  9. ^ Linafelt, Tod; Cotter, David W.; Beal, Timothy K.; Walsh, Jerome T.; Franke, Chris (1999). Ruth. Liturgical Press. ISBN 9780814650455.
  10. ^ "Nissan". Orthodox Union.
  11. ^ "Bamberg". Jewish Encyclopedia. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
  12. ^ Cassidy, Simon (25 October 1996). "Re: How long is a year..EXACTLY? East Carolina University Calendar discussion List CALNDR-L". Retrieved 11 March 2023.
  13. ^ This calendar was devised to provide specific advantages over the Revised Julian calendar, which was itself devised to provide specific advantages over the Gregorian calendar. These are: historical identity of dates with the Gregorian (see above for range); when projected back to before the Christian era the leap year rule remains unchanged; in the Finnish Orthodox Church, which currently uses the Gregorian Paschalion, five Easter tables would be used in the next 900 years (involving six switches) because two tables are used twice. There would be no change over any 900-year cycle if the Revised Julian calendar were used, but the Exigian calendar (so named to avoid having to describe it every time it came up in discussion) requires only four switches because no table is used twice.
  14. ^ Feldman, W M (1978). Rabbinical Mathematics and Astronomy. Judaic Studies Library; no. SHP 4 (3rd ed.). New York: Hermon Press. ISBN 978-0872030268.
  15. ^ C F Gauss, Berechnung des jüdischen Osterfestes, Monatliche Correspondenz zur Beförderung der Erd- und Himmels-Kunde, 5, herausgegeben vom Freiherrn von Zach, Mai 1802, pp 435–437; reprinted in: Carl Friedrich Gauss Werke (Königlichen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften, Göttingen, 1874), vol. 6, pp. 80–81.
  16. ^ Burnaby, Sherrard Beaumont (1901). "Elements of the Jewish and Muhammedan calendars with rules and tables and explanatory notes on the Julian and Gregorian calendars. Chapter 8: The formula of Dr. Gauss for finding the Christian date of the Jewish Passover". London. pp. 219–239.