Understanding the Holiday of Chanukah

Hanukah DreidelsIf you are not Jewish, you may have questioned the vacation of Chanukah but have never had anyone to ask your questions of. Thanks to the Internet you can get the responses to all your questions even if you do not have any Jewish pals.

The first concern lots of people ask is about the word “Chanukah” vs. the spelling “Hanukkah.” The reason for the two spelling is since the letters in the Hebrew alphabet are various than those of the English alphabet. Essentially, both can be made use of interchangeably and either spelling is great. There are many great websites to learn Hebrew.

Chanukah is the Hebrew term for re-dedication and the party of Chanukah is called the festival of lights. Chanukah begins on the 25th day of the month using the Jewish calendar. This indicates that it falls somewhere throughout November or December each year. The celebration lasts for 8 days during which time Jewish people celebrate, light candles, and exchange little presents.

Chanukah began over 2300 years ago in what is now referred to as Israel. The Hebrew people, likewise referred to as Jewish people, were bought to give up their God and praise just the Greek Gods as other individuals of the time did. The Jewish temples were destroyed and any Jewish individuals who chose to worship in their own means were severely punished for it.

Judah and his 4 brothers started a military of dissidents and asked as many other Jewish people to join them as they could. This military fought it’s enemy the Syrians for about 3 years till one day they were successful and recovered their Temple in the city of Jerusalem.  The very first concern of the Jewish people was to clean and rededicate the temple to the service of the Jewish God. Blessed oil was needed to rededicate the Temple yet none might be found by Judah.

They knew that there was just enough oil for one evening, however when they lit it a miracle took place, the small amount of oil burned for 8 nights! This is why the Jewish people light a Menorah each of the eight nights of Chanukah, to stand for the eight nights the oil burned for.

8 of the candles are for use each night of Chanukah, and the other candle is known as the “servant” and used to light the other candles. While oil utilized to be burned in a Menorah, today vibrant candles have replaced the oil.  The menorah in the temple had 7 candles, and the menora used on Chanukah has nine, which is better called a “Hanukia”.

In addition to the nightly lighting of the Menorah, Jewish youngsters play a game called Dreidel, as shown in the picture above.  A dreidel is a four-sided spinning top which has Hebrew letters on each side standing for “A Great Miracle Happened There” (except in Israel, one letter is different because they say “A Great Miracle Happened Here.”   Kids play the dreidel game by spinning the top and betting candy coins called “gelt”, which are typically made of milk chocolate.

The foods of Chanukah tend to be very oily.  One preferred Chanukah food is latkes.  Donuts are another commonly served food.

Hopefully, this will assist you to much better comprehend the Jewish celebration of Chanuakah a bit better.

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