Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day-long Jewish holiday that commemorates the victory of Maccabean Jews over the Syrian-Greek armies in the 2nd century, BC. Every year, Jews around the world light the Menorah to celebrate this holiday. This year, Hanukkah will start on the evening of 10 December and will go on until the evening of 18 December.
The History of Hanukkah
The story of Hanukkah dates back to over two thousand years ago in the 2nd century, BC. The Syrian-Greeks had taken control of the Land of Israel, and tried to force the Jews to assimilate and accept Greek culture and polytheism. At the same time, Jews were forbidden to practice their faith.
The rebellion began with an uprising led by a small group of Jewish warriors, the Maccabees. Against all odds, they eventually won the battle and purged the Temple of Jerusalem – the holiest site in Judaism – from the Syrians. In celebration of their victory, the Maccabees decided to dedicate the temple to God and rededicate it with eight days of light.
The 8 Days of Hanukkah
Throughout the eight days of Hanukkah, a special candelabrum, known as a Menorah, is lit up. The Menorah is based on a biblical verse in the Torah, and is made up of eight arms and a ninth holder in the center. The eight arms represent the eight days of light in the temple, while the nine holder in the center stands for a ninth servant candle used to light the other eight. On each night of the holiday, an additional candle is lit until all eight are burning.
During the holiday, Jews will eat fried foods such as potato Latkes and Jam-filled Sufganiyot in remembrance of the oil that miraculously lasted for eight days in the Temple. Throughout the duration of the holiday, families will typically exchange small gifts and sing traditional Hanukkah songs.
Hanukkah is a holiday of joy and celebration for Jews all around the world. Though the holiday celebrates events that happened over two thousand years ago, it is still relevant and celebrated by many Jews today. This year, Hanukkah will begin on the evening of 10 December and will end on 18 December.
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Last update 2023-11-27. Price and product availability may change.