Tonight marks the start of Hanukkah, a traditional Jewish festival that is celebrated for eight nights in December or January. During the eight nights of Hanukkah, families and friends come together to light candles, share meals, exchange gifts, and rejoice in their faith and community. Tonight is the night when the story of Hanukkah begins, and it marks a time of deepening joy and spiritual awareness for Jewish people around the world.
What is Hanukkah Night?
Hanukkah Night is the night on which the Hanukkah festival begins. Hanukkah is an eight-night Jewish festival usually beginning on the 25th of the Jewish month Kislev and ending on the 2nd or 3rd of the month Tevet. Jewish families celebrate this holiday with a grand meal, lighting the traditional Hanukkiah candles, exchanging gifts, and playing traditional games. The holiday is also known as the Festival of Lights.
The Story of Hanukkah:
The story of Hanukkah, also known as ‘The Festival of Lights’, starts when the Greeks sought to destroy the Jewish temple by replacing the menorah oil with a Hellenistic Idol. However, the Jewish priest, Mattityahu, refused and led a revolt against the Greek rule. Even though the Jewish rebels were outnumbered, they were successful in driving out the Greeks and reclaiming the temple and the menorah oil.
When the Jews first tried to relight the temple’s menorah, the oil was only enough for one night. Miraculously, the single day of oil lasted the entire eight days until more oil could be prepared for the temple relighting. This miracle is the spiritual source of the holiday of Hanukkah, celebrated by Jews for thousands of years.
Since its establishment, Hanukkah evening has become a special time of celebration, with traditions and customs that reinforce the spiritual messages of Jewish faith. Some of the most popular Hanukkah traditions include:
• Lighting the traditional Hanukkiah candles: On the first night, one candle is lit. On the second night, two candles are lit. This process continues, with additional candles being added on each of the eight nights, until all eight candles are lit.
• Eating special foods: Pancakes, potato pancakes, and donuts are typically eaten during Hanukkah night. These foods are fried in oil to commemorate the miracle of the oil lasting for eight days.
• Playing traditional Hanukkah games: Games such as dreidel spinning and exchanging Hanukkah gelt (special gold coins received on Hanukkah night) are popular activities during this time.
• Gift giving: Traditionally, some families exchange gifts on Hanukkah night.
Tonight marks the beginning of a time of joy and spiritual awareness for Jewish people around the world. While Hanukkah is considered a minor holiday in Judaism, its emphasis on religious freedom and the miracle of the oil that lasted for the eight days of the Hanukkah festival has made it an important holiday for those who celebrate it. For many, the celebration of the holiday is centered around symbols such as the Hanukkah menorah and the exchange of Hanukkah gelt, just as the ancient Jewish revolt was focused on reclaiming their symbols of faith. Tonight, as families gather to light the first candle and celebrate the start of Hanukkah, they commemorate all of the joy that this holiday brings.
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Last update 2023-11-27. Price and product availability may change.