Hanukkah (Hebrew חג החנוכה Hag HaHanukkah, “Feast of Edification” or “Enchantment”) is a Jewish festival of rabbinic institution, commemorating the re-inauguration of the Altar of Offerings in the Second Temple in Jerusalem, on its return to Jewish worship, three years after it was banned by Antiochus IV of the Seleucids.
It marks an important military victory of the Maccabees and symbolizes the spiritual resistance of Judaism to Greek assimilation.
According to rabbinic tradition, during this consecration occurs the miracle of the jar of oil, allowing the priests of the Temple to burn for eight days a quantity of oil barely sufficient for one day. This is why Hanukkah is also called the Festival of Enlightenment.
It is celebrated from the 25th kislev (which corresponds, depending on the year, to the months of November or December in the Gregorian calendar) and lasts eight days, until the 2nd or 3rd tevet (depending on the length of the kislev, a month of 29 or 30 days).
Related practices and customs are linked to the miracle of the oil vial, in particular the lighting of the nine-branch Hanukkah candlestick during the eight days of the festival and the consumption of olive oil-based sweets (latkes, soufganiyot, etc.). Four-sided spinning tops are also played.