When is Yom Kippur 2018?

Yom Kippur Dates and Traditions

Jewish Art
Suzy Glaser

When is Yom Kippur 2018, what is Yom Kippur, and why do Jewish celebrate this special holiday?

When is Yom Kippur 2018?

Note that the Jewish calendar is different than today’s civil calendar (the Gregorian calendar). It is a “Luni-Solar” calendar, established by the cycles of the Moon and the Sun, so the lengths of days vary by the season, controlled by the times of sunset, nightfall, dawn, and sunrise. Yom Kippur is held on the 10th day of Tishrei, ten days after the start of Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year).

All Jewish holidays begin at sundown on the date listed.

Year Hebrew

Yom Kippur begins:

2017 5778 Sunset September 29, 2017 (to nightfall September 30)
2018 5779 Sunset September 18, 2018 (to nightfall September 19)
2019 5780 Sunset October 8, 2019 (to nightfall October 9)

What is Yom Kippur?

Yom Kippur is the “Day of Atonement” in Hebrew. This is the holiest Jewish holiday of the year and ends the ten days of High Holidays or “Days of Awe.”

  • On this day, Jews refrain from work and all adults fast from sundown the evening before Yom Kippur until nightfall the next day.
  • This day is about asking God to forgive sins, reflecting on past mistakes accepting repentance, and praying.
  • Fasting is a way to cleanse and purify the body and soul.
  • Many Jews will wear all-white clothing to also symbolize purity.
  • On the day itself, there are many traditional prayers. One of the most important prayers descrives the atonement ritual performed by high priests during ancient times.
  • Yom Kippur ends with a single blast is blown on the shofar—a trumpet made from a ram’s horn.

Yom Kippur Traditions

The day before Yom Kippur (and fasting), a special and bountiful meal is enjoyed with a candle lighting at the end of the meal. Many people remember those who passed before them. Some Jews also visit cemeteries on this day before Yom Kippur.

Another tradition leading up to Yom Kippur is to perform charitable acts. Many Jews give money or time to the poorest amongst them.

After Yom Kippur ends with the shofar, there is much celebration, music, and dancing. A festive “break-the-fast” meal is served with lots of satisfying breakfast foods such as bagels and spreads, kugel, blintzes, and egg dishes. See how to make your own bagels!

If you observe Yom Kippur, please share your traditions below!


Reader Comments

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Dear Farmer's Almanac,

I wonder about the phrasing "why do Jewish celebrate this day".

It seems to me that "Jewish" is an adjective, and should modify "people", or some other noun.

If there is no noun, then there should be a definite article - "why do THE Jewish celebrate".

However, this still sounds odd to me. Wouldn't it be best just to say "why do the Jews celebrate"?

I lived in Europe for two decades, and when I came back, I referred to "the Jews", as one does in other languages that I was speaking there, and my mother jumped down my throat and called me anti-Semitic for using this word! The Jews are clearly a people, an ethnic group, a nation, in addition to being adherants of a religion.

I am not anti-Semitic in the least and in fact go out of my way to try to rectify anti-Semitism when I see it -- including, unfortunately, in today's public schools, where one can shockingly hear Holocaust denial and anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi comments!

Is it really so bad to call Jews 'Jews' in America?


I would like a Farmer's Almanac Jewish calendar.