Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish holiday that begins on the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev – usually some time in December. This is an occasion for Jews around the world to remember the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after its desecration by the Syrian-Greeks under Antiochus IV in the 2nd century BCE. Hanukkah is sometimes referred to as the Festival of Lights or Festival of Dedication. So, how many nights of Hanukkah are there?
Hanukkah is celebrated for eight nights and days, from the 25th day of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar to the 2nd or 3rd of Tevet, depending upon when the new moon appears. Lights are lit on each of the eight nights of Hanukkah to remind us of the miracle of the oil that burned for eight days instead of only one.
What is Hanukkah?
Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem in the 2nd century BCE. Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is a time of celebration and rejoicing. The holiday is celebrated for eight nights and days, and each night, a set number of candles are lit on a special menorah (or candelabrum), representing the miracle of the oil burning for eight days.
What is the history behind Hanukkah?
When the Syrian-Greeks took over the Temple in Jerusalem, they brought an end to the sacrifices and laws that were Jewish traditions. Judah Maccabee and his family, along with a small group of Jewish loyalists, rose up to take back the Temple and restore it to its original distinctions. After their successful victory to regain control, they set about rededicating the temple and the menorah. They searched for pure oil to light the menorah, but only one jar of oil with the seal of the priest was found. The oil was only enough for one day, yet, miraculously, the oil burned for eight days, allowing more time to create more pure oil for Temple services. Remembering this miracle, Hanukkah is celebrated every year for eight days, with candles lit each night and traditional food served.
What are the rituals of Hanukkah?
The eight-day celebration of Hanukkah includes several rituals. Every night, an additional candle is lit in the Hanukkiyah (the special menorah, or candelabrum) to commemorate the miracle of the eight days of oil. The lighting of the menorah starts with the shamash (or “servant”) candle, which is lit first in order to light the other candles. On each night, blessings are recited before and after lighting the menorah.
Other popular symbols and activities of Hanukkah include eating traditional foods such as latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts), playing with a four-sided top known as a dreidel, and exchanging gifts.
Hanukkah is an important Jewish holiday that is celebrated over eight days and nights. The holiday commemorates the Jewish freedom fighters victory against the Syrian-Greeks, and the miracle of the oil which burned for eight days instead of one. The rituals and traditions of Hanukkah include lighting the menorah, reciting blessings, eating traditional foods, spinning the dreidel, and exchanging gifts. All of these activities are important aspects of the celebration of Hanukkah and are symbols of the Story of Hanukkah and its miraculous rededication.
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Last update 2023-11-27. Price and product availability may change.