Hanukkah is a holiday celebrated by Jewish people all over the world. It is associated with the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, and the miracle of a single vial of oil lasting for eight days. But when did the original Hanukkah celebration start?
Hanukkah was originally celebrated in 164 BC, in the wake of a victory by the Jewish people against the Seleucid Empire in Jerusalem. During the revolt, the Jews were able to take back control of the Holy Temple and rededicate it as a temple to the Jewish God.
At the time, Jewish customs at the time dictate that a special sacrifice should be made to rededicate the temple, but the Jews had been unable to recover enough oil from the Seleucids to perform the eight-day sacrifice. However, after much prayer, God had provided a single vial of oil, enough to last all eight days of the ceremony- a miracle.
To commemorate this miraculous event, the Temple authorities decided to celebrate an eight-day festival every year – Hanukkah – to mark the rededication of the Temple and the miracle of the vial of oil. The first day of the modern Hanukkah celebration starts on the 25th day of Kislev, which can fall anywhere between late November and late December, depending on the year. The festival lasts for eight days and is celebrated with many rituals, including the lighting of the menorah (a special candleholder), giving of gifts, and of course, eating latkes and sufganiot (fried potato pancakes and jelly donuts respectively).
The story of Hanukkah is a reminder of the power of faith and the importance of religious freedom and ritual. Today, Hanukkah is celebrated around the world to remember the victory of the Jewish people and the miracle of the oil. For over 2000 years, Hanukkah has provided a meaningful connection to Jewish identity and heritage, and its symbolism and stories have survived to the present day.
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Last update 2023-11-22. Price and product availability may change.