Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is one of the most widely celebrated Jewish holidays. It is a joyous celebration filled with traditional foods, games, and activities. The word “Hanukkah” is derived from the Hebrew word for “dedication,” referring to the dedication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem during the Maccabean Revolt in the 2nd century BCE. For Jewish people around the world, Hanukkah is an important reminder of religious freedom and perseverance. As such, it is also known by many different names.
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The Many Names of Hanukkah
Hanukkah is most commonly referred to as the “Festival of Lights.” This is derived from the central ritual of the celebration, known as the lighting of the menorah. The menorah is a candelabrum which is constructed of eight branches, similar to a Christmas tree. Each night of Hanukkah, a new candle is lit, and on the last night of the eight-night festival, all eight candles are lit at once.
The Miracle of the Oil
In addition to the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah is also known as the “Feast of Dedication.” This refers to the “miracle of the oil,” a miracle which is believed to have taken place during the Maccabean Revolt. According to the tale, when the Maccabees returned to the temple to rededicate it, only one flask of oil that was suitable for use in the ritual was found. This flask, which normally would have only been enough to burn for one day, miraculously burned for eight days.
More Names for Hanukkah
Hanukkah is also referred to as the “Festival of Dedication,” the “Feast of Lights,” and the “Eight-Day Festival.” In some places, the holiday is also known as “Chanukah.” As Hanukkah is a joyous holiday celebrating religious freedom and victory, it is sometimes even referred to as the “Festival of Freedom” or the “Jewish Christmas.”
Traditions of Hanukkah
In addition to the lighting of the menorah, Hanukkah is celebrated with a variety of traditional foods, games, and activities. The most popular Hanukkah activity is dreidel playing. A dreidel is a four-sided spinning top which features the Hebrew letters nun, gimmel, hei, and shin. Traditional sweets eaten during Hanukkah include jelly donuts, chocolate coins, and potato pancakes.
In conclusion, Hanukkah is one of the most celebrated holidays in the Jewish faith. Recognised by many different names, the holiday is a reminder of religious freedom and perseverance. While the celebration of the holiday may vary from community to community, each version of the celebrations revolves around the lighting of the menorah and the joy of the holiday.
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Last update 2023-11-27. Price and product availability may change.