Hanukkah is a Jewish festival of lights and rededication, celebrated by thousands of believers around the world. It is an eight-day, joyful celebration of the miraculous victory of the Jewish Maccabees over the occupying Syrian-Greek Empire in the 2nd century BCE, and the rededication of the holy Temple in Jerusalem. Hanukkah is also known as the Festival of Lights and the Feast of Dedication, and is observed by lighting the eight-branched Hanukkah Menorah (candelabra) with a special candle each night of the holiday.
What Religion Celebrates Hanukkah?
Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday celebrated by Jews around the world. The holiday is celebrated by lighting one light of the menorah every night for eight nights. Hanukkah celebrates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem in the 2nd century BCE, when the Jews overcame the occupying Syrian-Greek Empire. Hanukkah has become a symbol of Jewish faith, history, and culture, and is celebrated with the lighting of the menorah, spinning of the dreidel, playing with the four-sided top, gift giving, feasting, and other rituals and activities.
The festival is celebrated during the Hebrew month of Kislev, which usually falls in November or December. It is a joyous and festive holiday, based on the idea of thanksgiving and appreciation. This is why it is a great time to get together with family and friends and express gratitude for one’s life and blessings.
How Is Hanukkah Celebrated?
Hanukkah is celebrated for eight days and nights. On each night, a new candle is lit in the menorah, which is prominently displayed in homes. Traditionally, the menorah is lit with special Hanukkah candles, although oil lamps may also be used. Homes may also be decorated with garlands and greenery, as a reminder of the original hanukkiyah erected in the Temple in Jerusalem.
Other traditional activities associated with Hanukkah include:
- Spinning of the dreidel – a four-sided top
- Enjoying traditional Hanukkah foods, such as latkes and sufganiyot
- Playing Hanukkah games, such as the dreidel game and dreidel races
- Giving Hanukkah gelt – a small sum of money given to children by their parents or grandparents
- Giving gifts to loved ones
- Holding festive parties for family and friends
- Reciting special Hanukkah prayers
Hanukkah is a time for reflection, thanksgiving, and joyous celebration that can be shared among all members of the Jewish faith. On this holiday, Jews reflect on themes of freedom, faith, family, and hope for the future. By celebrating this festival, Jews commemorate the miracles that occurred and the bravery of the Maccabees in their victory over the occupying Syrian-Greek Empire. Hanukkah is a reminder of the strength and resilience of the Jewish spirit, and a celebration of light in the darkest of times.
Although Hanukkah is a celebration specific to Judaism, other faith traditions and cultures sometimes join in the celebration of this festival of light. Jews of all backgrounds come together to join in the lighting of the menorah and commingle in the joy of celebrating the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem. Hanukkah is a celebration that transcends language, culture, and faith, and brings people from all over the world together to share in its significance.
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Last update 2023-11-22. Price and product availability may change.