Nisan (or Nissan; Hebrew: נִיסָן, Standard Nīsan, Tiberian Nīsān; from Akkadian: 𒊬𒊒𒄀 Nisanu) 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 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 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.

Assyrians celebrating Assyrian New Year (Akitu) year 6769 (April 1st 2019) in Nohadra (Duhok) 23.jpg
Assyrians celebrating Mesopotamian New Year (Akitu) year 6769 (April 1st 2019) in Nohadra (Duhok), Iraq
Native name
CalendarBabylonian calendar، Hebrew calendar
Month number1
Number of days30
SeasonSpring (Northern Hemisphere)
Gregorian equivalentMarch–April
Significant days
← Adar
Iyar →

Name and originEdit

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 observancesEdit

  • 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. (c. 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 - When the 14th falls on Sabbath, Ashkenazim observe it on 12 Nisan and Sephardim do not observe it at all
  • 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 observancesEdit

In history and traditionEdit

  • 1 Nisan The day the floodwaters receded from the earth, after the dove was sent out by Noah and returned with an olive branch, according to Genesis 8:10-13
  • 1 Nisan (c. 1638 BCE) – Death of Abraham according to the Talmud[citation needed]
  • 1 Nisan (c. 1533 BCE) – Death of Isaac according to the Talmud[citation needed]
  • 1 Nisan (c. 1506 BCE) – Death of Jacob according to the Talmud[citation needed]
  • 1 Nisan (c. 1455 BCE) – Tabernacle (Mishkan) inaugurated on the second year "Exodus 40".
  • 1 Nisan (c. 1455 BCE) death of Nadab and Abihu[3]
  • 1 Nisan (c. 3761 BCE) – Creation of the Universe according to Joshua ben Hananiah's opinion in the Talmud, tractate Rosh Hashanah 10b–11a).
  • 1 Nisan (1772) – Birth of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov[citation needed]
  • 1 Nisan (1892) – Death of Rabbi Elimelech Szapira of Grodzhisk[citation needed]
  • 2 Nisan (1920) – Death of Sholom Dovber Schneersohn, the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe. His last words are recorded as, "I'm going to heaven; I leave you the writings."[citation needed]
  • 3 Nisan (1492) – The Alhambra Decree orders the expulsion of Spanish Jews from Castile and Aragon (but not Navarre).
  • 7 Nisan (c. 1416 BCE) – Joshua sends two spies to Jericho.[citation needed]
  • 8 Nisan (1948) – Birth of Yaakov Yechezkiya Greenwald II, the present Pupa Rebbe[citation needed]
  • 10 Nisan (c. 1456 BCE) – The first Shabbat HaGadol was celebrated by the Israelites in Egypt five days before The Exodus.
  • 10 Nisan (c. 1417 BCE) – Yahrzeit of Miriam the prophetess, 39 years after the Exodus.[4]
  • 10 Nisan (c. 1416 BCE) – The Israelites cross the Jordan River into Canaan (Book of Joshua, 4)
  • 11 Nisan (1270) – Death of Nachmanides[citation needed]
  • 11 Nisan (1902) – Birth of the seventh Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson[citation needed]
  • 13 Nisan (c. 474 BCE) – Haman's decree to annihilate the Jews is passed.[citation needed]
  • 13 Nisan (1575) – Death of Joseph Caro, author of the Shulchan Aruch.[citation needed]
  • 13 Nisan (1866) – Death of Menachem Mendel Schneersohn, the third Lubavitcher Rebbe.[citation needed]
  • 14 Nisan (1135) – Birth of Maimonides[citation needed]
  • 14 Nisan (1943) – Warsaw Ghetto Uprising begins. The uprising would last until 3 Iyar, and is now commemorated in Israel on 27 Nisan.[citation needed]
  • 14 Nisan (c. 1456 BCE) - On the going out thereof, the eve of the 15th, was the first Passover meal, and the 10th plague on Egypt, the slaying of the firstborn.
  • 15 Nisan (c. 1456 BCE) – The Exodus from Egypt, with a strong hand and an outstretched arm
  • 15 Nisan (c. 1713 BCE) – Birth of Isaac[citation needed]
  • 15 Nisan (474 BC) – Esther appears before Ahasuerus unsummoned and invites him and Haman to a feast to be held the same day. During the feast she requests that the king and Haman attend a second feast the next day.[citation needed]
  • 16 Nisan (c. 1273 BCE) – The Israelites stop eating manna six days after entering the Holy Land.[citation needed]
  • 16 Nisan (c. 474 BCE) – Esther's second feast, during which she accuses Haman regarding his plot to annihilate her nation. Ahasuerus orders his servants to hang Haman.[citation needed]
  • 17 Nisan (c. 24th century BCE) – Noah's Ark came to rest on mountains of Ararat[5]
  • 17 Nisan (c. 474 BCE) – Haman hanged after Esther's second drinking party.[citation needed][6]
  • 21 Nisan (c. 1456 BCE) – The sea splits, allowing Israel to escape the Egyptian army.[citation needed]
  • 26 Nisan (c. 1386 BCE) – Traditional yahrzeit of Joshua son of Nun.[7]
  • 28 Nisan (c. 1415 BCE) – Battle of Jericho by Joshua (Book of Joshua ch. 6).
  • 29 Nisan (1620) – Death of Hayyim ben Joseph Vital, a Kabbalist and a disciple of Isaac Luria.[citation needed]
  • 29 Nisan (1699) – In Bamberg, Germany during a commercial crisis in 1699, the populace rose up against the Jews, and one Jew saved himself by throwing prunes from a gable-window down upon the mob. That event, the 29th of Nisan, called the Zwetschgen Taanit "Plum-Fast", was commemorated by a fast and a Purim festivity until the extermination of the Jewish community there.[8]

Other usesEdit

See alsoEdit


  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. ^ "Vayikra Rabbah 20:2". Retrieved 20 March 2022.
  4. ^ Megillat Ta'anit, fast days; Targum Yonaton, Nu. 20:1.
  5. ^ (Nisan before Torah, Genesis 8:4, Exodus 12:1)
  6. ^ Linafelt, Tod; Cotter, David W.; Beal, Timothy K.; Walsh, Jerome T.; Franke, Chris (1999). Ruth. ISBN 9780814650455.
  7. ^ "Nissan". Orthodox Union.
  8. ^ "Bamberg". Jewish Encyclopedia. Retrieved 30 April 2014.

External linksEdit