Hanukkah is a holiday filled with joy and celebration. It commences on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev, and traditionally lasts for eight days. But where does this long holiday come from, and why does it last for so long?
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The Real Reason for the Eight Days of Hanukkah
The Holiday of Hanukkah is one of the most widely celebrated holidays of the Jewish people. One of the most well-known aspects of Hanukkah is its eight-day length. This length of time was prescribed by the Rabbis following the success of the Maccabees, so why is it so important?
The Miracle of the Oil
Prior to the Roman siege of the Temple, there was only enough consecrated oil to burn for a single day. Miraculously, the oil managed to keep the menorah burning for eight days. In gratitude, the Rabbis decided the temple should remain illuminated for those eight days, and this is why the Hanukkah lights are lit for eight consecutive nights in commemoration of the victory.
Jewish Re-dedication and Thanksgiving
The length of Hanukkah also connects to the act of rededication. The Jewish people rededicated the Holy Temple and thanked God for His miraculous intervention. This act of rededication needed to last for eight days so that it could reflect the eight days of celebration. The Rabbis set the date as the 25th of Kislev, to begin on the 25th day of the month as the miracle began on the 25th of Kislev.
The Hanukkah Games
The eight days of Hanukkah have also become a time of many traditions. It is customary to eat foods fried in oil, play games and exchange presents as gifts of appreciation. Playing games with a dreidel is also a much-loved element of the holiday. The dreidel is a toy that was traditionally made of clay or wood, with each side showing a Hebrew letter. The letters form the acronym for the phrase “Nes Gadol Hayah Sham”, which translates to mean “A great miracle happened there”. The Priests in the early days of Judaism used to play with the dreidel during Hanukkah and families continue to pass on the tradition.
Hanukkah has always been a time of joyous celebration and gratitude, and it has been passed down through generations as an enduring reminder of the victory of the Jewish people over oppression. The festival lasts for eight days of remembrance and rejoicing, and its traditions will continue to be honored for hundreds of years to come.
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Last update 2023-11-27. Price and product availability may change.