Hanukkah is an 8-day Jewish celebration known as the “festival of lights,” and it is observed around the world. But when did people start celebrating Hanukkah? In this article, we will explain the answer to that question plus the historical and spiritual significance of this important Jewish holiday.
When Was the First Hanukkah?
The holiday of Hanukkah began in 165 B.C.E., after the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean revolt. This revolt was a Jewish revolt against the Greek-Syrian kingdom, known as the Seleucid kingdom. Led by Judah Maccabee, the Jewish forces were heavily outnumbered but ultimately won the battle due to their faith in God.
Why Do We Celebrate Hanukkah?
Once the rededication of the Temple was finished, they found a single cruse of oil to light the menorah in the Temple – enough to last only one day. Legend has it that the oil lasted for eight days, and that is why Hanukkah lasts for eight days. According to the Talmud, Jews around the world commemorate this miracle of the oil by lighting a candle in a nine-branched menorah, called a hanukkiah, for each night of the holiday.
The History of Hanukkah
During the time of the Hasmoneans, the rule of Jewish religious life was centralized. However, the actual celebration of Hanukkah changed over time. When the Second Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D., the holiday lost most of its religious significance and was instead marked by feasting, drinking, and games. Nowadays, many Jews practice various traditions such as playing dreidel and sharing traditional snacks.
In addition to these customs, many people also give gifts to honor the religious significance of this special holiday. As a reminder of the Maccabees’ struggle for religious freedom, many Jews take the time to celebrate and reflect on the holiday’s historical meaning.
In conclusion, Hanukkah is an important annual holiday for Jews around the world. Not only is it an opportunity to celebrate with family and friends, but it also has many spiritual and historic meanings, which are still relevant today. As we learn about the history of this holiday, and the traditions associated with it, we are reminded of the struggles of those who came before us and the sacrifices they made to ensure our religious freedom.
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Last update 2023-11-26. Price and product availability may change.