Hanukah is a Jewish festival celebrated in December for eight days, also know as:
- Feast of Dedication
- Festival of Lights
- Feast of the Maccabees
It’s called the festival of lights because it is celebrated by lighting candles on each day of the festival. Hanukkah is celebrated to honour the rededication of the Jews who rose against the Greek-Syrian tyrants in the Maccabean revolution.
Origination of Hanukkah:
Hanukkah holiday took place during a disturbing phase of Jewish history. The land of Israel came under the control of the King of Syria (Antiochus III) in 200 B.C. He allowed Jews to continue practising their religion, but his son abandoned this law and asked Jews to worship only Greek gods. They massacred thousands of Jews and defiled the second Temple in Jerusalem.
Judah Maccabee, also known as “the hammer”, eradicated the Syrians out of Jerusalem after fighting them for two years. Judas purified and renovated the second Temple. After cleansing it, the menorah of the Temple lit up. Menorah is a candelabrum with nine branches representing knowledge and creation. One branch is often placed above the other so that it can light up the other eight branches. This unique candle is called a “shamash”, meaning helper.
Miracle of Hanukkah:
In Talmud, when Judas entered the Temple, a small jar contained a small amount of oil that the Syrians didn’t destroy. The jar had enough oil to light up the candle for one day, but it was a miracle when the oil burned the candles for eight days. This miracle inspired Jews to celebrate it yearly for eight days.
Traditions of Hanukkah:
Hannukah is celebrated by lighting up the nine-branched menorah. One of the flames is called “shamash”, which helps the other eight candles light up. Blessings are also offered while lighting the candles. The menorah is displayed in the windows as a symbol of the miracle that inspired this holiday.
Traditional Hannukah foods are made in oil, like potato pancakes and jam-filled doughnuts. Presents are distributed among children like chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil. Children play games like cards and dance in four-sided spinning tops.
Message from the flickering candles:
The flickering candles are telling us:
- It would help if you stood up for your rights. With faith in their hearts, the Jews stood up for their rights against the Syrians and won.
- The candle symbolizes light in the darkness.
- The single flame was enough for yesterday, but today should be even better. Always increase in a matter of goodness.
- Never get ashamed of doing something good.