Why is Hanukkah Celebrated?
Do you know what the Hanukkah festival represents and what the story behind it is? Well, it’s a very interesting one. Let us get on with it! About more than 2,000 years ago, the Jewish fought against their enemies, who did not allow them to practice their religious traditions. They even destroyed the Jewish temple in Jerusalem, which had many holy objects, including one sacred lamp, the Menorah. A brave man, Judah, led a small band of people known as Maccabees in a fight against their enemies so that they could freely practice their traditions. However, the enemies were outnumbered, but still, the Jews stood strong and brave, and they achieved victory. When they returned, the first thing that Judah did was restore the sacred lamp. But the sad thing about it was there was very little oil left, enough only for one day. So he filled the lamp with that oil and lit it. But instead of lasting for just a day, it burned brighter and brighter, lasting for eight days straight! That was a miracle! From that day onwards, every year to honor the victories of the Jews, a day is celebrated, which is known as Hanukkah. The word Hanukkah means rededication, while the celebration itself is called the “Festival of Lights.” The celebrations last for eight days; the first day usually includes a big family dinner with potato latkes, beef briskets, and jelly doughnuts. After dinner, the family gathers around for lighting the Menorah candles, a new candle each day until all eight are lit. Blessings, songs, gifts, and games with toys such as dreidel and chocolate coins, called gelt, are all part of the ceremony. Happy Hanukkah! We also explore this a great deal for teacher in our article: Top 10 Tips for Incorporating Hanukkah Themes in Your Classroom