Hanukkah is a special Jewish festival that celebrates the liberation of the Jews from the Greek-Syrian kingdom and the subsequent rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. It is celebrated annually on the 25th day of Kislev on the Jewish calendar and usually falls around late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar. Hanukkah is a joyous family celebration that has religious significance, and is celebrated by lighting a special menorah and eating fried foods such as potato pancakes and jelly-filled doughnuts. But why was Hanukkah created?
Hanukkah originated in antiquity to celebrate a miraculous event that occurred in the second century B.C.E. – the victory of Judah the Maccabee and his followers over the armies of the Greek-Syrian kingdom. During this time, the Syrian-Greeks had outlawed all forms of Jewish practice and worship, including the practice of circumcision, Shabbat and the worship of one God. Despite the odds, Judah’s small army was victorious and the Temple was reconsecrated.
The miracle of Hanukkah is known as the “miracle of the oil”. Although the Temple had been rededicated, there was only enough oil to light the menorah for one day. But when the last of the oil was used, it miraculously burned for eight days – long enough for more oil to be produced. Therefore, the festival of Hanukkah was created to commemorate this miraculous event.
The celebration of Hanukkah has changed over time. Ancient Jews marked the eight-day holiday with a major sacrifice and large parties, while today it is more widely celebrated with special prayers, holiday-themed foods, and children’s gifts. The menorah has become the main symbol of the festival, since it was this that was miraculously lit for eight days. The eight branches of the menorah represent the eight days of the miracle, while the shamash – the highest candle – is used to light the other candles each night.
The Festival of Lights is a special reminder of the past, but its lessons are still relevant for contemporary Jewry. Hanukkah is a celebration of freedom and courage, and a reminder that faith can help us overcome any obstacle. It’s also an opportunity to celebrate family, friends, and the wonders of life that can be easily overlooked.
Hanukkah is an important holiday in the Jewish calendar that is both historically and religiously significant. It commemorates the struggle to protect religious freedom and the miraculous victory of Judah the Maccabee and his followers. The Festival of Lights is an opportunity to remember our past, celebrate freedom and courage, and unite as a community in the spirit of Hanukkah.
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Last update 2023-11-27. Price and product availability may change.