Holocaust Memorial Day is held every year on January 27, and it’s often confused with Yom HaShoah, which takes place in April.
Whilst they are both annual days of remembrance, Yom HaShoah is specifically a day for the Jewish community to reflect on the six million ancestors and relatives who died in the Holocaust between 1933 and 1945.
Here is everything you need to know about the memorial day.
What is Yom HaShoah?
Yom HaShoah is a day for Jews to commemorate the millions of Jewish people who were killed in the Holocaust.
The name comes from the Hebrew word ‘shoah’, which means ‘whirlwind’.
Yom HaShoah was established in Israel in 1959 by law, and it has continued to be an important day for Jews to come together and remember lost relatives.
When is Yom HaShoah?
This year, Yom HaShoah begins at sunset on Wednesday, April 27, and ends the evening of Thursday, April 28 – the date changes year on year.
This is because Yom HaShoah is held on the 27th of Nisan, the first month in the Hebrew calendar, which naturally differs from the Gregorian calendar used commonly today.
On top of that, if Yom HaShoah clashes with the Jewish Sabbath, the date of the memorial day will be adjusted accordingly.
What do people do on Yom HaShoah?
Memorial services will be held all over the world tonight.
They often involve prayers being said in memory of those who died in the Holocaust, and at some of these events, survivors will speak.
Jewish people across the world also light yellow candles in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.
Over the past couple of years, Yom HaShoah events have moved online in the wake of the pandemic – and although some in-person events have returned this year, these are still going ahead.
There will be a free live ceremony tonight at 2:20 pm est on the official Yom HaShoah website.
The Holocaust memorial museum Yad Vashem will also stream the day’s opening ceremony online at 1 pm est on its website.
In Israel, places of public entertainment are closed by law, and flags on public buildings are flown at half-mast.
At 5 am est, an air raid siren sounds throughout the country, and Israelis are expected to observe two minutes of solemn reflection.
People driving often pull over and get out of their cars so that they can reflect.