Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day celebration observed by members of the Jewish faith around the world. Starting on the 25th day of Kislev on the Jewish calendar, it celebrates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem by the Maccabees after their victory over the Syrian-Greeks in the year 165 BCE. The special menorah (candelabra) lit in the temple used only a single cruse of olive oil that should have lasted for only one day, but miraculously lasted for eight days. This is the reason for the eight days of Hanukkah and the menorah’s nine branches that serve to represent the miracle.
Hanukkah celebrates the Maccabees’ dedication and commitment to religious freedom and the Jewish faith. A synagogue service takes place on the first and last night of the holiday, religious songs are sung, and gifts are exchanged. On each night of Hanukkah, celebrants light candles of a special menorah, beginning with one candle on the first night and adding one more candle on each successive night until the eighth night, on which the entire menorah is filled. Some families also exchange gifts, play games involving dreidels (four-sided spinning tops), eat traditional foods, like fried latkes and sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts), and decorate their homes and synagogues with images of the menorah and pictures of oil lamps.
The traditional prayer, ”Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us concerning the lighting of the Hanukkah lights” is a declaration of gratitude to God for the miracles associated with the holiday. The holiday also celebrates religious diversity and encourages families to come together, be thankful, and spread peace throughout the world.
Hanukkah is a special time to celebrate religious freedom, faith, and togetherness. Although Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday, we can all partake in the joy by spreading the holiday’s message of peace and love around the world. As Jews, we have the special opportunity to continue marking this vibrant and meaningful holiday year after year, reminding ourselves of the power of faith, perseverance, and harmony.
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Last update 2023-11-22. Price and product availability may change.