WRITTEN BY: PURVAJA PISUPATI
COVER PHOTO COURTESY: WIX
One of the most joyful parts of the year is right after Thanksgiving when the entire country goes into full-on Christmas mode. Every year, millions of Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah instead of Christmas.
Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the second temple of Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean revolt against the Seleucid empire.
“Hanukkah is basically the celebration of two miracles happening. One being that a candle had enough oil to last one day ended up lasting eight and the Maccabees won over where they were outnumbered,” said junior Colin Glick, who celebrates Hanukkah.
Hanukkah lasts eight days and is celebrated from the 25th day of Kislev to the second day of Tvet.
During these eight days, people do various festival related activities, such as making their own Menorah, celebrating with other families, and lighting a candle on the Menorah everyday from right to left, because that is how Hebrew is read. They also play a popular game called dreidel. The dreidel is a Jewish variant on the teetotum, a gambling toy found in many European cultures.
According to chabad.org, this is the story of Hanukkah: more than 2,000 years ago in what is now called Israel, a Syrian king named Antiochus ruled. He tried to force all of the Jewish people who lived in his land to follow the Greek gods. Many Jews were opposed to this, including a man named Judah Maccabee, whose last name meant "hammer." Judah and his four brothers joined together to lead a rebellion against the Syrians that lasted three years. The Maccabees finally made the Syrians leave Israel so the Jews could once again worship their God in the temple of Jerusalem.
The Jewish people decided to clean all the Greek symbols out of the temple, and on the 25th day of Kislev, the Jewish month, they finished. Next, they decided they wanted to have an eternal flame, meaning that once the light was lit, it would never be put out.
They could only find a tiny amount of oil, which they thought would last just a day. But they lit it anyway, and to everyone's great surprise, according to legend, it burned for eight days Hanukkah is a celebrated by millions of Jewish people around the world and people should acknowledge it, just like Christmas.