Happy Hanukkah! Or Chanukah! However you happen spell it, we hope you enjoy it! Although many people have heard of Hanukkah, often times, people don’t exactly know quite what it is. Hanukkah is a little bit more than candles, dreidels, and gifts. Hanukkah is history. It tells a story. The Hebrew word “Chanukah” means dedication, which makes more sense once you know the history behind the Jewish holiday.
The story starts in about the second century BC, when the Holy Land of Jerusalem was ruled by the Syrian-Greeks (Seleucids). This group tried to force their Greek beliefs and culture upon the Israelites. A very small group of faithful Jews, led by Judah the Maccabee, ended upon defeating one of the greatest armies on earth, drove out all the Greeks from the land, and reclaimed the Holy Temple, rededicating it to God. When they went to light the Temple’s Menorah (candelabra that can fit several candles), they found only the tiniest bit of olive oil that wasn’t taken or harmed by the Greeks. Miraculously, the tiny oil supply lasted for 8 days. Chanukah is the commemoration and celebration of these miracles.
In celebrating Hanukkah, a Menorah is lit, adding a candle each of the 8 days of Hanukkah. It is a time filled with prayers, cheers, food, and of course, fun. Eating latkes and playing the dreidel game are a few of the most common traditions in Jewish homes. Based on how tradition goes, the tradition is to give children Chanukah gelt, or gifts of money, encouraging children to give to charity. However, with today’s consumer-driven society, gifts are also commonly given.
A lot of lessons are learned through Chanukah, such as how you should never be afraid to do what’s right, always do good, and that a little light goes a long way.
We hoped you’ve learned something, or gained a little more appreciation for the holiday. To those who celebrate, Happy Chanukah! And Happy Holidays to all, for all of us at ZB Productions.