Hanukkah is a Jewish celebration that relies on history and tradition. It is known as the Festival of Lights and typically takes place in the late autumn or early winter. Hanukkah 2020 began on December 10 and ended on December 18. The holiday celebrates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem during the Maccabean Revolt in 2nd century B.C.E. Both Hanukkah’s observance and historical events have changed over the centuries. It is important to understand the history of the holiday to appreciate why it holds such an important place in Jewish culture.
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What Is Hanukkah?
Hanukkah is an eight-day holiday that begins on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev. The holiday has been celebrated for thousands of years and has taken many forms over that time.
At its core, Hanukkah is a celebration of religious freedom. It marks the revolt of the Maccabees against the Seleucids, a Hellenistic dynasty that conquered Israel, and ultimately their success in defeating the Hellenists in 165 B.C.E. This victory liberated Israelites from foreign rule and allowed them to reclaim and rededicate their temple in Jerusalem.
When Was Hanukkah Made?
The first Hanukkah celebration took place in the 2nd century B.C.E. after Judah Maccabee liberated Israel from the Seleucids.
Over the centuries, as Jewish traditions and customs have evolved, so has the way in which Hanukkah is celebrated. Many Jews today continue to celebrate it by lighting the menorah, spinning the dreidel, eating sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts) and playing games.
The Meaning of Hanukkah
At the heart of the holiday is the message of survival and hope, a message that has resonated with the Jewish people throughout the centuries. As the struggles for independence and freedom continue, Hanukkah brings us together, to remember the Maccabees’ courage and faith that enabled them to triumph in the face of danger and adversity.
During Hanukkah, many Jews around the world observe the holiday according to the ancient traditions:
- Lighting eight candles on the Menorah
- Spinning the Dreidel
- Eating Latkes and Sufganiyot
- Giving small gifts to one another
- Spending time with family and friends
The Significance of Hanukkah
Hanukkah has become one of the most widely observed Jewish holidays in the world, and it is widely celebrated by non-Jews as well. It is a reminder of the power of miracles, hope and faith. Hanukkah gives us the opportunity to reflect on our own struggles, to take pride in our heritage, and to come together to celebrate our freedom.
Hanukkah is an important historical milestone for the Jewish people and one that continues to have a lasting impact on modern Jewish culture. It is a time of joy and celebration, a time to reflect on the struggles of the past and to take pride in Jewish heritage and traditions. Hanukkah is a reminder that even in times of great difficulty and adversity, it is possible to have hope and faith and work together to build a better future. With each candle lit, we honor the legacy of the Maccabees and the message of freedom and courage that they passed on to us.
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Last update 2023-11-21. Price and product availability may change.