If you compare the dates of the Jewish events with those stated in the Bible you will see some disparity. It is connected with the fact that long ago the Jewish people didn't have an exact calendar, so they waited for the rulers to inform about the beginning of every month and the dates of celebrations. But while some Jewish communities were rather far from the capital, the information didn't reach them in due time. The residents of these communities knew that May lasts 29 or 30 days, so they celebrated both possible days. Now it is a tradition: each Jewish festival lasts one extra day in addition to that stated in the Bible.
All Jewish festivals and holidays start in the evening before the official date of the event. This is because a Jewish day starts and ends at sunset, not at midnight, the latter being usual for the Orthodox. So, if working is not allowed during the holiday the restriction already comes into play the evening before the solemn date. You may find tens of holidays in the Jewish calendar, but only some of them are widely popular. These are: Pesach, Yom Kippur, Succot and Chanukah.
Pesach is, perhaps, the most important and favorite Jewish festival, because it commemorates the liberation of the Israelites from their enslavement in Egypt. During 8 days of the festival (usually in March or April) Jews are not allowed to eat some food and to work (excluding a four-day period after two days from the beginning of the Pesach). It is recommended to spend the first two days of the festival in relaxing and rest, which are to symbolize freedom from the slave fetters. The next four days are the time for normal work activity, and then the festival continues.
Another Jewish festival known all around the world is the Festival of Lights (Chanukah) typically taking place in December. The history of the Festival goes back to the period of the Greek dominion, when Jews were not allowed to follow their faith. The band of Jews decided to free their land of Greeks and revolted. Having won a victory, they lit special seven-branch candelabra (Menorah) in the temple, but oil was enough for only one day. So, it was a great surprise when Menorah kept on remaining alight all 7 days long. Nowadays, it is a tradition to light Menorah every night in every home during the Festival. Chanukah also includes presents, parties and celebrations, different games, and eating food cooked on oil. It is also forbidden to work throughout the event.
Succot is one more famous Jewish festival. During the eight-day celebration Jews live in special booths, their walls made of wood and the ceiling of greenery, like their ancestors did after the exodus from Egypt. Just imagine how unusual and romantic it is to lie in such a booth at night, to look at the blinking stars through the roof, to hear the whisper of the wind, and to feel the coolness of the night. Try it yourself, and it will definitely seem that you are an ancient Jew escaped from the Egyptian slavery. The essential of the festival is a daily prayer for the rain said during the synagogue service.
The Jewish history and fortune are not that simple and colorful. That is why there exist some holidays in the Jewish calendar which are rather solemn than merry and rather serious than bright. This concerns the Jewish Festival of Atonement, when people pray for absolution; the Holocaust Martyr's and Heroes' Remembrance Day, the day of honoring the memory of the perished from the Nazis; the Remembrance Day for the Deceased in Israel's Wars, and some others. But even such serious special days do not deprive the Jewish of a possibility to look into the future with a smile. They are alive, so the sacrifice of all the departed was not in vain.
A deal of holidays and festivals annually takes place in Israel, and all of them are so fascinating and admiring that you will no way stay indifferent. And once partaking in the event of the sort, you will never forget it. Thus, the only thing to be advised is go for it! And don't forget a trifle - you risk losing a precious memory.