Hanukkah is a Jewish festival that commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE. Each year, the eight-day festival, known as the Festival of Lights, is celebrated with the lighting of a nine-branched candelabrum known as a menorah, one candle on each night. But when did the celebration of Hanukkah begin?
The festival observance of Hanukkah may have originated with the Jews of Egypt in the 2nd century BCE. While the exact origin of the holiday is not known, scholars generally claim that the festival of lights was either invented around this time or adopted from an existing Zoroastrian Festival. Eventually, the holiday spread to the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries, as well as to the United States.
Table of Contents
The Evolution of Hanukkah Celebrations
2nd Century BCE: Ancient Jews of Egypt Celebrate
The origin of Hanukkah as a festival is thought to have begun with the Jews of Egypt in the 2nd century BCE. While scholars claim that the holiday was either invented around this time or adopted from an existing Persian festival, what is clear is that during this time, a festival was celebrated during the Jewish month of Kislev.
2nd Century CE: Expansion to the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Countries
By the 2nd century CE, the celebration of Hanukkah had spread to the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries. The holiday was most widely celebrated in Palestine, which was under Roman rule at that time. During the Middle Ages, Hanukkah festivities and rituals began to gain in popularity among the newly formed Ashkenazi Jewish communities of Europe.
19th Century: Expansion to the United States
The 19th century saw the festival and its accompanying rituals spread across the world, particularly in the wake of an ongoing wave of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe to the United States. In the U.S., Hanukkah was adopted as a family-oriented holiday, with a focus on gift-giving, celebrations, and rituals.
20th Century and Beyond: Hanukkah Gains in Popularity
During the 20th century, Hanukkah has continued to gain in popularity among Jewish populations around the world, and today, it is recognized as one of the major holidays on the Jewish calendar. Hanukkah festivals and events have today become commonplace in many communities, with holiday songs, gift-giving, and special foods all becoming part of the celebration.
Hanukkah is a holiday with a long history and is celebrated in many different ways around the world. While its origins are not certain, the celebration of Hanukkah began in the 2nd century BCE in Egypt, with the holiday eventually spreading to the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern communities. In the 19th century, Hanukkah was adopted by Jewish communities in the United States, and by the 20th century, it had become one of the major holidays on the Jewish calendar. Hanukkah festivals are now observed around the world, with special songs, lighting of the menorah, and gift-giving all becoming part of the celebration.
- How Did Hanukkah Come To Be?
- How Hanukkah Came To Be?
- When Did Hanukkah Start Being Celebrated?
- The First Hanukkah Is Said To Be A Delayed Celebration Of Which Holiday?
- Where Hanukkah Is Celebrated?
- Where Is Hanukkah Celebrated The Most?
- Map Of Where Hanukkah Is Celebrated?
- Hanukkah Is Celebrated In What Countries?
- Where Is Hanukkah Celebrated Map?
- What Country Is Hanukkah Celebrated In?
- How Many Ways Can Hanukkah Be Spelled?
- When Did The Tradition Of Giving Gifts For Hanukkah Begin?
- Hanukkah Gift Card To Be Mailed
- What Countries Is Hanukkah Celebrated In?
- Where Is Hanukkah Mostly Celebrated?
Last update 2023-11-22. Price and product availability may change.