Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday celebrated around the world. It commemorates the events of the Maccabean revolt against the Seleucid Empire in ancient Israel and is celebrated by Jews around the world through gift-giving, decorative decorations, and traditional food. But who started Hanukkah?
The origin of Hanukkah dates back to 167 BCE when the Jewish people of ancient Israel, the Maccabees, successfully defeated the Seleucid Empire in battle. Led by the Maccabees, the Jews regained control of their homeland and overthrew the Seleucid Empire which had forced them to abandon their beliefs and worship of the Greek gods.
To commemorate their victory, the Maccabees established the holiday of Hanukkah. This holiday is now celebrated over the eight-day period from the 25th day of Kislev in the Hebrew calendar until the 2nd day of Tevet, also known as Hanukkah eve.
The actual lighting of the menorah is likely traced back to the time of the Maccabees. According to one legend, when the Maccabees rededicated the Temple of Jerusalem after the war, they searched for oil to light the menorah, but could only find one day’s worth. Miraculously, the oil lasted for eight days until more oil could be found — thus the eight-day holiday of Hanukkah was born.
It is believed that Judah Maccabee, the leader of the Maccabean rebellion, created Hanukkah to celebrate the victory and freedom of the Jewish people, as well as to honor the Maccabean martyrs. To commemorate the victory, Judah ordered the restoration of the Temple and its places of worship, the rededication of the Temple altar and the celebration of an eight-day Winter Festival of Lights. He also established new religious laws and customs including the lighting of the menorah (or Hanukkiah, as it is known in modern Hebrew).
To this day, Hanukkah continues to be celebrated by Jews and non-Jews alike, in honor of the freedom of the Jewish people from oppression and persecution. The holiday is a reminder of the strength and courage of the Maccabees and the rededication of the Temple.
In conclusion, Hanukkah is a time for celebration, reflection and remembrance. It commemorates the heroic victory of the Maccabees over the Seleucid Empire, and recognizes the freedom of the Jewish people to practice their beliefs and worship the true God. By lighting the menorah each night, Jews all around the world will continue to remember and honor the Maccabees and their courage that started Hanukkah.
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Last update 2023-11-27. Price and product availability may change.