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Adar       Nisan (נִיסָן)       Iyar
Tu Bishvat
Passover, the Festival of the Unleavened Bread,
and liberation from Egyptian slavery.
Month number: 1
Number of days: 30
Season: Spring (Northern Hemisphere)
Gregorian equivalent: March-April

Nisan (or Nissan; Hebrew: נִיסָן‎, Standard Nisan Tiberian Nîsān) in the Hebrew and the Babylonian calendars, is the month of the barley ripening and first month of spring. The name of the month is an Akkadian language borrowing, although 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" (Book of Exodus 12:1-2), "first month" (Ex 12:14), and the month of Aviv (Ex 13:4) בְּחֹ֖דֶשׁ הָאָבִֽיב ḥōḏeš hā-’āḇîḇ). It is called Nisan in the Book of Esther in the Tanakh and later in the Talmud, which calls it the "New Year", Rosh HaShana, for kings and pilgrimages. It is a month of 30 days. Nisan usually falls in March–April on the Gregorian calendar. Counting from 1 Tishrei, the civil new year, it would be the seventh month (eighth, in leap year), but this is not done in Jewish culture.

Name and origin

The biblical Hebrew months were given enumerations instead of names. The new moon of Aviv, which in the Hebrew language means "barley ripening" literally 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 names for the equivalent lunar months in the Babylonian lunisolar calendar came to be applied during the Babylonian captivity, in which the month of Aviv's name was Araḫ Nisānu, the "month of beginning".[1]

Holidays and observances

  • 1 Nisan Lunar new year, marking the month of Aviv (spring), as the first month of the year, which month was later called Nisan. The first national mitzvah was given to the Jewish people to fix the calendar to the new moon of Aviv, according to the Book of Exodus 12:1–2, 12:18. (circa 1456 BCE)
  • 4-11 Nisan - Approximate dates of the Akitu festival of ancient Babylon, celebrating the sowing of barley in the first month of spring, Nisanu.[2]
  • 10 NisanYom HaAliyah – Aliyah Day, Israeli national holiday
  • 14 NisanFast of the Firstborn – on 12 Nisan when the 14th falls on Sabbath
  • 14 NisanBirkat Hachama is recited once every 28 years
  • 14 Nisan - Passover seder meal and Haggadah on the going out of the 14th and eve of the 15th
  • 14 Nisan - Quartodeciman Last Supper, an ancient Passover (Christian)
  • 15–21 Nisan (22 Nisan outside of Israel) – Feast of Matzot - Passover week
  • 23 NisanMimounaMaghrebi Jewish celebration of the end of the Passover prohibition on eating chametz, on 22 Nisan within Israel
  • 27 NisanYom HaShoah (Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day) – on 26 Nisan or 28 Nisan when the 27th falls on Friday or Sunday respectively, interfering with Shabbat

Moveable holidays and observances

In history and tradition

Other uses


  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 Aug. 2020
  2. "Akitu Festival". Livius.
  3. Megillat Ta'anit, fast days; Targum Yonaton, Nu. 20:1.
  4. (Nisan before Torah, Genesis 8:4, Exodus 12:1)
  6. "Bamberg". Jewish Encyclopedia. Retrieved 30 April 2014.

External links