Jewish Holidays 2017: What Is Hanukkah?

What is Hanukkah?

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One of the most important Jewish holidays of the year is Hanukkah, also known as Chanukah. It is an eight-day festival that takes place in the winter and it is known as the “festival of lights” as menorahs are lighted over the course of the event, along with special prayers and fried foods.

The word Chanukah is Hebrew for “dedication,” as it is a day in which those of the Jewish faith celebrate the rededication of the Holy Temple. The concept comes from an event that took place in the second century BCE in which the Holy Land was ruled by the Seleucids, which are the Syrian-Greeks, and they tried to force the people of Israel to accept Greek culture in stead of their own.

Judah the Macabee united a small group of Jews that battled to defeat one of the Earth’s strongest armies in order to reclaim the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, thus rededicating it to the service of God.

Following this event, they tried to light the Temple’s seven-branched candelabrum known as thee Menorah, but discovered only a single cruse of olive oil that had escaped contamination by the Greeks. They miraculously lit the menorah and a one-day supply of oil fired it for eight days.

The Jews now celebrate the event in honor of this time of faith, which is celebrated in 2017 between December 12 and 20.

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