Hanukkah or the Festival of Lights is an 8-day Jewish holiday that celebrates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in the 2nd century BC. It is a joyous celebration of faith, family, and the miraculous victory of a greatly outnumbered army. But when was the first time that Hanukkah was celebrated?
Hanukkah was first celebrated sometime around 165 BC. We have no exact record of the first celebration, but historians believe that it began when a small group of Jewish warriors known as the Maccabees rose up against the Syrian-Greeks, who had conquered and occupied Judah. The Maccabees, led by Judah the Maccabee, had a tremendous victory and drove the Syrian-Greeks out of Judah. This victory was celebrated by reclaiming the Temple in Jerusalem and commemorating it with an 8-day festival of lights, with the lighting of a single lamp in the temple.
This 8-day festival that we know today as Hanukkah was popularized over the centuries through prayer, songs, and stories. The tradition of lighting the menorah, a candelabra with eight branches, comes from the original lighting of the Temple’s single oil lamp. Other traditions such as Dreidel and gelt (coins given as gifts) were added by later generations.
Throughout its history, Hanukkah has been celebrated in different ways by many different countries and cultures. It has been a holiday of both celebration and reflection, with many of the traditional songs and stories centered around the theme of faith. Today, Hanukkah continues to be celebrated as a reminder of the struggles and victories of the Jewish people throughout their long and varied history.
Hanukkah is a celebration of faith, family, and miracles. Its long history is a testament to the power of the human spirit to survive through difficult times and overcome great obstacles. Hanukkah is a wonderful opportunity to gather together and reflect on the events of the past while simultaneously celebrating the blessings of the present and looking ahead with hope and optimism to the future.
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Last update 2023-11-27. Price and product availability may change.