Hanukkah is a celebration that honors an event that happened two thousand years ago in the land of Israel. It is celebrated with prayer, family gatherings, and the lighting of the eight-day Hanukkiah (also known as the Hanukkah menorah). But when did this event happen? Let’s take a look.
Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, commemorates the victory of the Maccabees over the Seleucid Empire in 165 BCE. It began as a small military revolt by the Hasmonean family, a Jewish priestly clan from the ancient Land of Israel, who revolted against the Seleucid ruler of Judea, Antiochus IV Epiphanes. The Maccabean Revolt lasted three years and was eventually successful in liberating Judea from Seleucid rule.
According to the Book of Maccabees, after the Maccabean Revolt, the Jews rededicated the Temple in Jerusalem, which had been desecrated by the Seleucids. They lit the eight-day menorah to celebrate the rededication of the Temple and the Maccabees’ victory. The lighting of the menorah has since become the defining ritual of the Hanukkah festival.
To commemorate this event, Jews have celebrated Hanukkah for the past two thousand years. The first written record of its observance dates to the 2nd century CE. The exact beginning and end of the festival if not established until the 4th century CE.
During the Festival of Lights, Jews light the menorah and recite prayers, eat special treats, exchange gifts, and sing songs about Hanukkah. In recent years, many people have embraced Hanukkah as a Jewish holiday celebrating religious freedom.
Hanukkah is a reminder of an ancient Jewish event that happened two thousand years ago in the Land of Israel. It is a joyous holiday celebrated with prayer, family gatherings, and the lighting of the menorah. It is a time to reflect on the history of the past and to look to the future with hope and gratitude.
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Last update 2023-11-27. Price and product availability may change.