Hanukkah is an important Jewish holiday observed for eight days and nights in late November or December. Its name means dedication in Hebrew, and its history is steeped in miracle and symbolism. The Festival of Lights is celebrated by lighting candles on a nine-branched candelabrum (menorah) each night, and sharing fried foods in memory of the oil used to rededicate the Temple in Jerusalem. During Hanukkah, it’s customary to say special prayers and exchange gifts.
The Hebrew word “Hanukkah,” also spelled Chanukah, means “dedication” and is derived from the Hebrew verb meaning “to dedicate.” The holiday celebrates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after a successful revolt by the Maccabees against the Syrian Greeks in the year 165 BCE. The Maccabees liberated the Temple from the Greeks, removed all foreign idols, and wanted to rededicate it using a special oil, but only found one of the eight-day supply. Miraculously, it burned for eight days instead of just one.
The Story of Hanukkah
The history of Hanukkah goes back to the revolt of the Maccabees against the Seleucid Empire of ancient Syria. Led by Judas Maccabeus, the Maccabees recaptured Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism. After cleaning the temple of foreign idols and desecration, the Maccabees wanted to rededicate the temple. The Syrus Greeks had destroyed the reserves of consecrated oil used for the Temple’s menorah, a seven-branched candelabrum. The Maccabees found only one jar of oil, enough for one day, but a miracle occurred and it lasted for eight days.
The primary ritual customs of Hanukkah involve the daily lighting of candles and the exchanging of gifts. On each of the eight nights of Hanukkah, a new candle is placed in a special menorah, also known as a Chanukiah, and lit with the “shamash” candle. The menorah holds nine candles – one extra candle on the menorah is used to light all the other candles. This is done to honor the miracle of the one-day supply of oil lasting for eight days. Gifts are exchanged, and it’s traditional to eat fried foods, such as latkes, and jelly doughnuts.
Hanukkah is an occasion of joy, family reunion and gratitude for the miracles of the past. It is a reminder of the struggle for freedom to practice Judaism and how those small acts of courage and perseverance have the power to bring light and hope. Hanukkah is an opportunity for modern-day members of the Jewish faith to commemorate the miraculous past while looking forward to a brighter future.
- What Is Happy Hanukkah In Hebrew?
- What Does The Word Hanukkah Mean In Hebrew?
- Hanukkah Means What In Hebrew?
- How Do You Spell Hanukkah In Hebrew?
- How Do You Write Happy Hanukkah In Hebrew?
- How To Say Hanukkah In Hebrew?
- What Does Hanukkah Mean In The Hebrew Language?
- Hanukkah Banner In Hebrew
- Hanukkah: A Counting Book In English Hebrew Yiddish
- How To Say Happy Hanukkah In Hebrew?
- How To Write Happy Hanukkah In Hebrew?
- How Do I Say Happy Hanukkah In Hebrew?
- How Do I Write Happy Hanukkah In Hebrew?
- How To Spell Hanukkah In Hebrew?
- How To Spell Happy Hanukkah In Hebrew?
Last update 2023-11-27. Price and product availability may change.