Hanukkah, or the Festival of Lights, is a Jewish holiday celebrated each year around the 25th of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar. During the eight-day celebration, Jewish people come together to observe the joyous miracle of an one day’s supply of oil burning for eight days.
On Hanukkah, Jewish people celebrate the victory of the Maccabees over the Syrian-Greek Army in 165 B.C. and their ability to reclaim the Temple in Jerusalem that had been sacked and desecrated. To commemorate this victory, Jewish people light a special Menorah and exchange gifts, often giving monetary gifts to children. Traditionally, a dreidel is used to play a game of chance. On this holiday, Jewish people also come together for a festive meal known as a seudah. The holiday feast includes special Hanukkah dishes that feature many special delights, from latkes (potato pancakes) to jelly doughnuts.
During the eight days of Hanukkah, it is traditional to light the menorah candles each night. On the first night, all eight candles are lit, and then each successive night one more is lit until all are aflame. On each night of Hanukkah, special blessings are recited, and Jewish people recite the She’asah Nissim (the miracle of the oil). On Saturday night, after the synagogue service, a special prayer is added to the traditional Grace After Meals, thanking God for keeping them alive during the Hanukkah time.
During the holiday, Jewish families offer charity to those in need, sharing with those who are not as fortunate. Many Jewish people often take the time to read from the Torah, which includes the inspiring story of the Maccabees’ victory against adversity.
The joy of Hanukkah reinforces a central Jewish theme: the power of a determined spirit to overcome overwhelming opposition. Recalling this festival each year serves as a consistent reminder of resilience and hope. On Hanukkah, Jewish people come together to celebrate with family and friends, to remember their history, and to feel an overwhelming sense of pride and elation.
- Why Do People Of The Jewish Faith Celebrate Hanukkah?
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Last update 2023-11-26. Price and product availability may change.