The Hanukkah history is filled with stories of bravery and valor for the Jews. Wish your Jewish friend “Hanukkah Sameach!”(Happy Hanukkah),“Chag Sameach!” (Happy Holidays), or“Chag Urim Sameach!” (Happy Holiday of Lights) after reading this Hanukkah story.
Greek King Antiochus IV Epiphanes had possessed the Jewish temple and outlawed their religion. He sacrificed pigs on the altar created for Zeus inside the temple. The Maccabees defeated the Greeks and rededicated the temple in Jerusalem around 167-160 B.C. ‘Hanukkah’ means ‘dedication’ in Hebrew.
During the rededication, there was enough oil only to light the temple for a single day yet the lamp stayed ignited for eight whole days and nights as a miraculous indication of a supernatural power.
What's the Meaning of Hanukkah?
- A. Dedication
- B. Victory
- C. Jerusalem
- D. Christmas
When Did Hanukkah Start?
Hanukkah appears only in the New Testament where Jesus is mentioned to attend a ‘Feast of Dedication’. Hanukkah is not a ‘Jewish Christmas’ even though both holidays are celebrated at the same time of the year with similar traditions. It is celebrated for eight days and eight nights continuously from the 25th day of Kislev to recognize their victory. According to the Hebrew calendar, Kislev can fall anywhere between November and December.
When Was Hanukkah First Celebrated?
The first traditional Hanukkah resembling the present celebration didn’t happen until 250 years after the Greeks were defeated. The traditional Hebrew candelabra famously known as the Menorah consists of nine candle holders. While eight were aligned equally to represent the eight day the oil lamp lasted, the ninth candle called the shamash is placed distinctly to represent the original lamp itself.
Unlike Shabbat, Hanukkah can be celebrated by going about usual activities, visiting family and friends. Jews generally eat fried foods on this day. The ‘Festival of Lights’ is celebrated by lighting the Shamash candle and one other candle on the menorah each day until the 8th day when all of them are lit simultaneously left to right.
Significance of Hanukkah History
Since reading the Torah was illegal, kids often play dreidel to read it while they play. This became a rich tradition later on. While the menorahs were originally placed facing the streets, practising judaism became a dangerous thing during the next few decades. Therefore, they were brought inside. Hanukkah is not mentioned in the Hebrew bible but it is in the Christina bible.