Why do Jewish holy days/holidays/festivals (whatever you want to call them) start at sundown?

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    Sep 30, 2012 11:25 PM GMT
    Seems like sunrise would be more like the time that something starts.
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    Oct 01, 2012 6:18 AM GMT
    Because sundown in the US is around midnight in the "Holy Land."
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    Oct 01, 2012 9:46 PM GMT
    No, no. That's not it.
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    Oct 02, 2012 8:48 AM GMT


    1 In the beginning G-d created the heavens and the earth.
    2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of G-d was moving over the face of the waters.
    3 And G-d said, "Let there be light"; and there was light.
    4 And G-d saw that the light was good; and G-d separated the light from the darkness.
    5 GdashD called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night.
    And there was evening and there was morning, one day.
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    Oct 02, 2012 3:25 PM GMT
    Thank you.
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    Oct 04, 2012 5:20 PM GMT
    Caslon21000 saidSeems like sunrise would be more like the time that something starts.


    Posting just to add: It makes more sense to start the day at midnight? What exactly is that a transition of?
  • MikemikeMike

    Posts: 6932

    Oct 05, 2012 6:44 AM GMT
    I am not Jewish but I guess the OP can't read or Google?? They have it at sundown because Vampires come out at nighticon_lol.gif
  • thirdoz

    Posts: 69

    Oct 08, 2012 6:45 AM GMT
    Caslon21000 saidSeems like sunrise would be more like the time that something starts.


    It's partly a reading of :
    א בְּרֵאשִׁית, בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים, אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם, וְאֵת הָאָרֶץ. 1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
    ב וְהָאָרֶץ, הָיְתָה תֹהוּ וָבֹהוּ, וְחֹשֶׁךְ, עַל-פְּנֵי תְהוֹם; וְרוּחַ אֱלֹהִים, מְרַחֶפֶת עַל-פְּנֵי הַמָּיִם. 2 Now the earth was unformed and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God hovered over the face of the waters.
    ג וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים, יְהִי אוֹר; וַיְהִי-אוֹר. 3 And God said: 'Let there be light.' And there was light.

    That is, there was darkness before light, so time is measured from dark to light.

    The more anthropological reasoning: It was actually pretty common for ancient peoples to measure days starting at sunset. Several reasons are given, but the most logical would be that if you're using a lunar calendar (the jewish calendar is lunar) -- it would make sense to actually be able to see the phase of the moon before deciding what day/month/year you're in.
  • ZacktheMan

    Posts: 340

    Oct 10, 2012 10:58 PM GMT
    theantijock said
    Caslon21000 saidSeems like sunrise would be more like the time that something starts.


    Posting just to add: It makes more sense to start the day at midnight? What exactly is that a transition of?


    They did not have clocks back then. How would they know when midnight arrives? icon_smile.gif

    But they all did know when the Sun sets and when the Sun rises.
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    Oct 11, 2012 12:59 AM GMT
    ZacktheMan said How would they know when midnight arrives? icon_smile.gif


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Day
    The Jewish day begins at either sunset or at nightfall (when three second-magnitude stars appear). Medieval Europe followed this tradition, known as Florentine reckoning: in this system, a reference like "two hours into the day" meant two hours after sunset and thus times during the evening need to be shifted back one calendar day in modern reckoning. Days such as Christmas Eve, Halloween, and the Eve of Saint Agnes are the remnants of the older pattern when holidays began the evening before.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midnight
    Midnight is the transition time period from one day to the next: the moment when the date changes. In the Roman time system, midnight was halfway between sunset and sunrise, varying according to the seasons.

    Solar midnight is that time opposite of solar noon, when the sun is closest to nadir and the night is equidistant from dusk and dawn.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_timekeeping_system
    Since local habits varied across the empire, local Roman habits also varied. In particular whether the day started from sunrise, or later midnight, (as Romans), or from sunset as Athenians and Jews.