Dust off your dreidels and get ready to light your menorahs! The holiday season kicks off at sundown tonight as Hanukkah gets underway. Let the Festival of Lights begin!
When is Hanukkah 2010? Hanukkah begins December 1 and goes until December 9. It’s early this year because Jewish holidays are based on the ancient Hebrew calendar. Chabad.org explains that Hanukkah “begins on the eve of the 25th of the Jewish month of Kislev and celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, of purity over adulteration, of spirituality over materiality.”
So what is Hanukkah all about? Here is a simplified explanation from RelgionFacts.com:
“Hanukkah is one of the few Jewish holidays that is not instituted in the Torah. It commemorates a post-biblical event: the victory of the Maccabees over the Syrian-Greek rulers of Jerusalem and the subsequent re-dedication of the Temple in 164 BCE. It also celebrates a miracle that accompanied this event: When the temple was rededicated, God miraculously made the one day’s worth of oil burn brightly for eight days.”
Here are some Hanukkah facts:
1. Hanukkah means “dedication” in Hebrew.
2. Originally, gift giving was not part of Hanukkah but because it is celebrated at Christmastime, Hanukkah has become more commercial.
3. Hanukkah can be spelled many different ways (and all are correct) including Chanukah, Chanukkah and Hanukah.
4. The 9-branched candelabra that holds the Hanukkah candles is called a Hanukkiah. Many people, including some Jews, refer to it as a menorah, but a menorah has 7 branches and is associated with the Temple.
5. Out of all the Jewish holidays with which non-Jews are most familiar, Hanukkah wins because of its proximity to Christmas.
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