Let’s talk Hanukkah


Reilly Erickson, Reporter

With Hanukkah ending on December 6th, 2021, this year let us learn about it. Hanukkah is also called Chanukah, as well known as the Festival of Lights or the Feast of the Maccabees. The Jewish festival begins on Kiselev 35(usually observed in December according to the Gregorian Calendar) is celebrated for 8 days. The holiday is celebrated with lighting a menorah, traditional foods, games, and gifts.  


  Antiochus III, the king of Syria gained control of the lands known as Israel in 200 B.C. He allowed the Jewish people who lived there to continue practicing their religion. However, his son Antiochus IV Epiphanes, was less kindhearted than his father and outlawed the Jewish religion and ordered that the worship the Greek gods instead. During 168 B.C, Antiochus IV sent his soldiers to descend upon Jerusalem, slaughtering thousands of people and desecrating the city’s holy second temple by developing an altar to Zeus and sacrificing pigs with the sacred walls. Hanukkah commemorates the Maccabean victories over the forces of the kind Antiochus IV and the rededication of the temple on Kiselev 25, 164 BCE. Judas proclaimed that the temple should be celebrated every year for 8 days beginning on that date.  


With the holiday having many religious and nonreligious customs, Hanukkah is a joyful festival that lacks work restrictions of other festivals like Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. The most important and well-known tradition is lighting the menorah each evening. Also known as the Hanukkah lamp, the menorah reminiscences that temples lampstand and elaborate candelabra with eight branches plus a holder for Shammash or servant candle which is used to light all the other candles. There is one candle that starts on the first night and as the holiday continues an additional candle is added to represent the number of nights it has been until all 8 candles are lit on the last evening. When that holiday started olive oil was traditionally used for lighting the menorah, however it was replaced by candles that are placed in the menorah additionally each night of the festival from right to left and lit left to right, a blessing is also traditionally offered while the candles are being lit every night, originally the menorah was originally placed outside the house, however it was brought inside of the house in accident times to ward off  offending neighbors.  

 There is a miracle that happened during the redemption of the second temple, with them only having enough oil to keep the candle lit for one day. However, the flames continued to flicker for 8 days, which gave them time to find a fresh supply. This event sparked a yearly 8-day festival.  

No Matter what holidays you tend to celebrate, you should always be opened to learn about other holidays and religions. With the new year try to reach out and learn new things. It might bring you to find something that you never thought to try or observe. It may lead to you wanting to try some new things and incorporate them into your traditions.