Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish holiday that commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple. It is celebrated with the lighting of the menorah and traditional festivities such as eating fried food and playing with a dreidel. Although Hanukkah is celebrated by a minority of the world’s population, it is steeped in history and tradition. Here are three interesting facts about Hanukkah that you may not know.
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1. The History Behind Hanukkah
The Maccabean Revolt
Hanukkah is based on the Maccabean Revolt, a rebellion of a small group of Jews against the Syrian-Greek king Antiochus IV Epiphanes. Antiochus had outlawed several Jewish practices, such as circumcision and Sabbath observance, and tried to introduce Hellenistic religions and culture into the Jewish community. The Maccabees, led by Judah Maccabee, defeated the Syrian-Greeks in 166 BCE and rededicated the Second Temple in Jerusalem.
Hanukkah commemorates the rededication of the holy temple and the miracle of the menorah. The Maccabees found enough oil to light the menorah in the temple for only one day, yet, miraculously, it lasted eight days.
2. Role of the Menorah
The nine-branched menorah is an important symbol of Hanukkah. One candle is lit each night of Hanukkah. A shamash (“ attendant”) candle is also lit and is the “lighting coordinator” for all the rest. On the first night, the shamash is lit up first, the next night two candles are lit, and so on until eight candles plus the shamash are lit up on the last night.
3. Dreidel and Gelt
The dreidel is a four-sided top with a Hebrew letter on each side that stands for the phrase “A great miracle happened there” (Nes Gadol Hayah Sham). The game is played by spinning the dreidel and collecting tokens, usually gelt (chocolate coins). Players win or lose by the top they spin.
Hanukkah is an important part of the Jewish tradition that is celebrated all over the world. This holiday is filled with history, miracles, and timeless rituals that have been observed for centuries. From the story of the Maccabean Revolt to the menorah, dreidel and gelt, Hanukkah is sure to bring joy and celebration to those who observe it.
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- What Are Some Symbols For Hanukkah?
- What Day Of Hanukkah Are We In?
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- How Many Nights Are There Of Hanukkah?
- How Many Candles Are For Hanukkah?
- In What Order Are Hanukkah Candles Lit?
- How Many Candles Are In Hanukkah?
- How Many Candles Are On The Hanukkah?
Last update 2023-11-22. Price and product availability may change.