"We thank You also for the miraculous deeds and for the redemption and for the mighty deeds and the saving acts wrought by You, as well as for the wars which You waged for our ancestors in ancient days at this season. Megillat Antiochus (probably composed in the 2nd century[25]) concludes with the following words: ...After this, the sons of Israel went up to the Temple and rebuilt its gates and purified the Temple from the dead bodies and from the defilement. The students' school in Israel had been subjected to arson by extremists. [6], The name "Hanukkah" derives from the Hebrew verb "חנך‎", meaning "to dedicate". The Aramaic New Testament uses the Aramaic word "Khawdata" (a close synonym), which literally means "renewal" or "to make new." If an account exists, we've sent an email with a link to reset your password. [115] Bakeries in Israel have popularized many new types of fillings for sufganiyot besides the traditional strawberry jelly filling, including chocolate cream, vanilla cream, caramel, cappuccino and others. [38] Judah ordered the Temple to be cleansed, a new altar to be built in place of the polluted one and new holy vessels to be made. The eight-day rededication of the temple is described in 1 Maccabees 4:36–4:59, though the miracle of the oil does not appear here. [47] As the conflict escalated, Antiochus took the side of the Hellenizers by prohibiting the religious practices the traditionalists had rallied around. The soldiers only had enough oil to light the menorah for a single night, but the story goes that the little bit of oil lasted for eight full nights. Stores in Haredi neighborhoods sell the traditional Shin dreidels as well, because they understand "there" to refer to the Temple and not the entire Land of Israel, and because the Hasidic Masters ascribe significance to the traditional letters. However, its original sound is closer to the English H than to the Scottish Ch, and Hanukkah more accurately represents the spelling in the Hebrew alphabet. Hannukah? It tends to fall somewhere between late November and late December. [citation needed], The story of Hanukkah is preserved in the books of the First and Second Maccabees, which describe in detail the re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem and the lighting of the menorah. The tradition of giving Chanukah gelt dates back to a long-standing East European custom of children presenting their teachers with a small sum of money at this time of year as a token of gratitude. 2, 24–25[37]). וכל שמונת ימי חנוכה הנרות הללו קודש הם, ואין לנו רשות להשתמש בהם אלא להאיר אותם בלבד כדי להודות ולהלל לשמך הגדול על נסיך ועל נפלאותיך ועל ישועותיך. The simplest answer: It occurs roughly around Christmas, and companies are only too thrilled to capitalize on the timing. At Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail, they celebrate Hanukkah with a nightly menorah lighting ceremony starting at … The requirement to position the menorah, or Chanukiah, at the door or window, symbolizes the desire to give the Chanukah miracle a high-profile. Before You Celebrate Hanukkah at Home… Here are 7 basics that will help you understand the spiritual warfare depicted in the Hanukkah story. Translation: "Blessed are You, LORD our God, King of the universe, Who performed miracles for our ancestors in those days at this time...", After the lights are kindled the hymn Hanerot Halalu is recited. It is customary amongst some Ashkenazi Jews to have a separate menorah for each family member (customs vary), whereas most Sephardi Jews light one for the whole household. Hanukkah is a minor Jewish holiday as compared to the high holidays of Rosh Hashonah and Yom Kippur or to Purim and Passover. [46], What began in many respects as a civil war escalated when the Hellenistic kingdom of Syria sided with the Hellenizing Jews in their conflict with the traditionalists. [71] An extra light called a shamash, meaning "attendant" or "sexton,"[72] is also lit each night, and is given a distinct location, usually higher, lower, or to the side of the others. One branch is typically placed above or below the others and its candle is used to light the other eight candles. Accordingly, lamps are set up at a prominent window or near the door leading to the street. [70], Each night throughout the eight-day holiday, a candle or oil-based light is lit. [101] This addition refers to the victory achieved over the Syrians by the Hasmonean Mattathias and his sons. Adapting the classical Hebrew pronunciation with the geminate and pharyngeal Ḥeth can lead to the spelling Hanukkah, while adapting the modern Hebrew pronunciation with no gemination and uvular Ḥeth leads to the spelling Chanukah. Known as the Festival of Lights, it is celebrated by lighting a candle a day for eight days. When he fell into a drunken sleep, Judith beheaded him and escaped from the camp, taking the severed head with her (the beheading of Holofernes by Judith has historically been a popular theme in art). (federal) = federal holidays, (abbreviation) = state/territorial holidays, (religious) = religious holidays, (cultural) = holiday related to a specific racial/ethnic group or sexual minority, (week) = week-long holidays, (month) = month-long holidays, (36) = Title 36 Observances and Ceremonies [141][6], Some Jews in North America and Israel have taken up environmental concerns in relation to Hanukkah's "miracle of the oil", emphasizing reflection on energy conservation and energy independence. [81], The United States Postal Service has released several Hanukkah-themed postage stamps. Thus: the Miracle of Hanukkah. Some Hasidic and Sephardi Jews recite Psalms, such as Psalm 30, Psalm 67, and Psalm 91. Here's the story behind the event also known as Chanukah. "[131] Rabbi Angela Warnick Buchdahl, in leading prayers at the ceremony commented on the how special the scene was, asking the President if he believed America's founding fathers could possibly have pictured that a female Asian-American rabbi would one day be at the White House leading Jewish prayers in front of the African-American president.[132]. Answer: Hanukkah (which in Hebrew means 'to dedicate') is also referred to as the Festival of Lights or the Feast of Dedication. Nevertheless, though Chanukah is of rabbinic origin, it is traditionally celebrated in a major and very public fashion. Sean Gallup/Getty Images, PHOTO: [116] In recent years, downsized, "mini" sufganiyot containing half the calories of the regular, 400-to-600-calorie version, have become popular. See, This is the first reference to the Feast of Dedication by this name (ta egkainia, ta enkainia [a typical "festive plural"]) in Jewish literature (Hengel 1999: 317). Megillat Taanit (1st century) contains a list of festive days on which fasting or eulogizing is forbidden. Hanukkah party in Vail. As the majority of the population in Israel is of Sephardi and Mizrahi Jewish descent, and these groups have their own Hanukkah dishes such as fritas de prasa, sfinj, cassola, and shamlias, among others. Hanukkah celebrates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in the 160s BC. [118] This custom, as mentioned above, commemorates the heroism of Judith during the Babylonian captivity of the Jews and reminds us that women also played an important role in the events of Hanukkah. Many modern Jewish families celebrate by lighting the hanukkiah. [88] The custom of many is to light at sundown, although most Hasidim light later. [7][8], Many homiletical explanations have been given for the name:[9], In Hebrew, the word Hanukkah is written חֲנֻכָּה‎ or חֲנוּכָּה‎ (Ḥănukkāh). Among the most well known songs in English-speaking countries are "Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel"[108] and "Oh Chanukah". The Hebrew calendar is based on a lunar cycle. Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, or Feast of Dedication, is celebrated annually on the 25th of Kislev and lasts for 8 days. Gingerbread cookies in the shape of Stars of David and decorated with a Hanukkiah candelabrum. Selected battles between the Maccabees and the Seleucid Syrian-Greeks: Hanukkah is celebrated with a series of rituals that are performed every day throughout the eight-day holiday, some are family-based and others communal. בְּהוֹן לָא לְמִסְפַּד וְלָא לְמִגְזַר צוֹמָא וְכָל דִּיהֵי עֲלוֹהִי נִדְרָא יְשַׁלְּמִנֵּיהּ. Second, they clearly wanted to promote a sense of dependence on God, urging Jews to look toward the divine for protection. The Sephardi Jews eat fritas de prasa, a similar fried dish made with mashed potato and leek. President Obama said these "students teach us an important lesson for this time in our history. Want to play? The Torah is read every day in the shacharit morning services in synagogue, on the first day beginning from Numbers 6:22 (according to some customs, Numbers 7:1), and the last day ending with Numbers 8:4. [66][67] Adherents go to work as usual but may leave early in order to be home to kindle the lights at nightfall. 12:50 PM EST, Tue December 24, 2019. [19] Modern scholar Reuvein Margolies suggests that as the Mishnah was redacted after the Bar Kochba revolt, its editors were reluctant to include explicit discussion of a holiday celebrating another relatively recent revolt against a foreign ruler, for fear of antagonizing the Romans. Known as the Festival of Lights, it is … [67], Among Ashkenazim the tendency is for every male member of the household (and in many families, girls as well) to light a full set of lights each night,[73][74] while among Sephardim the prevalent custom is to have one set of lights for the entire household. The first and last deal with general themes of divine salvation, and the middle four deal with events of persecution in Jewish history, and praises God for survival despite these tragedies (the exodus from Egypt, the Babylonian captivity, the miracle of the holiday of Purim, the Hasmonean victory), and a longing for the days when Judea will finally triumph over Rome. People might also play dreidel games and eat certain foods like sufganiyot (similar to jelly donuts) and latkes (fried potato pancakes). This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Kaufmann, Kohler (1901–1906). Judea was part of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt until 200 BCE when King Antiochus III the Great of Syria defeated King Ptolemy V Epiphanes of Egypt at the Battle of Panium. When Antiochus IV was in power, all Jewish practices were outlawed, including reading and studying the sacred Jewish text, the Torah. Fried foods are an important part of the celebration for many, in recognition of the importance of oil in Hanukkah. Since Christmas is generally accepted as an important and universal experience in American childhood, kids of other faiths often feel left out of the celebrations. The Hanukkah menorah is also kindled daily in the synagogue, at night with the blessings and in the morning without the blessings. [120], Roast goose has historically been a traditional Hanukkah food among Eastern European and American Jews, although the custom has declined in recent decades. [110], Penina Moise's Hannukah Hymn published in the 1842 Hymns Written for the Use of Hebrew Congregations was instrumental in the beginning of Americanization of Hanukkah. [139][140], While Hanukkah is a relatively minor Jewish holiday, as indicated by the lack of religious restrictions on work other than a few minutes after lighting the candles, in North America, Hanukkah in the 21st century has taken a place equal to Passover as a symbol of Jewish identity. ", "The Story of Yehudit: The Woman Who Saved the Day", "Hanukkah's a-Coming: Geese Are Getting Fat", "8 Foods You Didn't Know Jews Eat During Hanukkah", "Gyration Nation: The Weird Ancient History of the Dreidel", "Why Do We Give Hanukkah Gelt and Hanukkah Presents? I am a Christian mother of five wonderful children, blessed with an amazing husband. CNN Sans ™ & © 2016 Cable News Network. Like the candle Chanukiah, it has eight wicks to light plus the additional shamash light. This happened in the 160s BCE/BC (before Jesus was born). Known as the Festival of Lights, it is celebrated by lighting a candle a day for eight d… There are several different versions; the version presented here is recited in many Ashkenazic communities:[95], In the Ashkenazi tradition, each night after the lighting of the candles, the hymn Ma'oz Tzur is sung. Both foods are fried in oil, commemorative of the miracle of the Maccabees’ long-burning oil. HANUKKAH 2020 begins at sunset on December 10 and is one of the most important dates on the Jewish calendar. Translation: "Blessed are You, LORD our God, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to kindle the Hanukkah light[s]. This year, Hanukkah will begin at sundown on December 22 and last until sundown on December 30. New York: Funk & Wagnalls. If I ever find spare time, I use it for gardening, snowboarding, and studying the Hebrew language. [67], A large number of songs have been written on Hanukkah themes, perhaps more so than for any other Jewish holiday. The following year these [days] were appointed a Festival with [the recital of] Hallel and thanksgiving. The law requires only one light each night per household, A better practice is to light one light each night for each member of the household. — Hilchot Megilot v Hanukkah 3:2-3, Some modern scholars, following the account in 2 Maccabees, observe that the king was intervening in an internal civil war between the Maccabean Jews and the Hellenized Jews in Jerusalem. [28] Josephus does not say the festival was called Hanukkah but rather the "Festival of Lights": In the New Testament, John 10:22–23 says, "Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. Is Hanukkah the most important Jewish holiday? Updated The White House commissioned a menorah made by students at the Max Rayne school in Israel and invited two of its students to join U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama as they welcomed over 500 guests to the celebration. When is this day celebrated? Only biblical holidays fit these criteria, and Chanukah was instituted some two centuries after the Hebrew Bible was completed. The Hanukkah celebration revolves around the lighting each evening of candles on a nine-branched menorah, known in Hebrew as the hanukiah. [117], Rabbinic literature also records a tradition of eating cheese and other dairy products during Hanukkah. However, most Hasidic groups light lamps near an inside doorway, not necessarily in public view. These books are not part of the canonized Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) used by modern Jews, though they were included in the Greek Septuagint. [97], After lighting the candles and Ma'oz Tzur, singing other Hanukkah songs is customary in many Jewish homes. Alex Wong/Getty Images. He banned brit milah (circumcision) and ordered pigs to be sacrificed at the altar of the temple.[36]. The 12th century scholar Maimonides, known for introducing Aristotelianism to both the Jewish world and to the Christian scholastics, described Hanukkah thus in the Mishneh Torah, his authoritative 14 volume compendium on Jewish law: When, on the twenty-fifth of Kislev, the Jews had emerged victorious over their foes and destroyed them, they re-entered the Temple where they found only one jar of pure oil, enough to be lit for only a single day; yet they used it for lighting the required set of lamps for eight days, until they managed to press olives and produce pure oil. In 1979 president Jimmy Carter took part in the first public Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony of the National Menorah held across the White House lawn. So today, Jews celebrate Hanukkah to remember their defeat over Antiochus, the restoration of the Temple of Jerusalem, and the miracle of the oil. In 1996, the United States Postal Service (USPS) issued a 32 cent Hanukkah stamp as a joint issue with Israel. Merriam-Webster’ uses the spelling “Hanukkah,” but “Chanukah” is also widely accepted. They likely feared inciting Jews to another revolt that might end in disaster, as the Bar Kochba revolt did. Although most people use the word menorah in the context of Hanukkah, what observers are actually lighting is called a hanukkiah (ha-noo-kee-ah). [147][149] By the 1900s, it started to become a commercial holiday like Christmas, with Hanukkah gifts and decorations appearing in stores and Jewish Women magazines printing articles on holiday decorations, children's celebrations, and gift giving. PHOTO: Sephardi, Polish, and Israeli families eat jam-filled doughnuts called sufganiyot, which were (Yiddish: פאנטשקעס‎ pontshkes) by Ashkenazi Jews living in Eastern and Central Europe prior to the Holocaust, bimuelos (spherical doughnuts) and sufganiyot which are deep-fried in oil. [79], In the United States, Hanukkah became a more visible festival in the public sphere from the 1970s when Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson called for public awareness and observance of the festival and encouraged the lighting of public menorahs. About The Author. [68][69] Many families exchange gifts each night, such as books or games, and "Hanukkah Gelt" is often given to children. To complete your CNN profile and ensure you are able to receive important account information, please verify your email address. [88] However, they must remain lit through the lighting of the Shabbat candles. [114], Latkes are not popular in Israel, as they are more commonly made at home and are an Ashkenazi Jewish dish. ", בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱ-לֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁעָשָׂה נִסִּים לַאֲבוֹתֵֽינוּ בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם בַּזְּמַן הַזֶּה.[94]. Its use in transliteration of Hebrew into English is based on influences of Yiddish and German, particularly since transliteration into German tended to be earlier than transliteration into English. There was in it [enough oil] to light [the lamps therewith] for one day, but the God of heaven whose name dwells there put therein his blessing and they were able to light from it eight days. Due to the coincidental timing of Christmas and Hanukkah, some Jewish families participate in present exchanges and decorating. [128], In 2001, President George W. Bush held an official Hanukkah reception in the White House in conjunction with the candle-lighting ceremony, and since then this ceremony has become an annual tradition attended by Jewish leaders from around the country. The blessings for Hanukkah lights are discussed in tractate Succah, p. On the first night, the shehecheyanu blessing is added, making a total of three blessings. The miracle of the oil is widely regarded as a legend and its authenticity has been questioned since the Middle Ages. One candle per night of Hanukkah is lit, like Hebrew is read, from right to left. All Rights Reserved. that the sole cruse of pure oil found which held enough oil to burn for one night actually burned for eight nights). וּבעוֹ מִשְׁחָא דְּזֵיתָא דָּכְיָא לְאַדְלָקָא בּוֹצִנַיָּא וְלָא אַשְׁכַּחוּ אֵלָא צְלוֹחִית חֲדָא דַּהֲוָת חֲתִימָא בְּעִזְקָת כָּהֲנָא רַבָּא מִיּוֹמֵי שְׁמוּאֵל נְבִיָּא וִיַדְעוּ דְּהִיא דָּכְיָא. Hanukkah is the Jewish holiday otherwise known as the "Festival of Lights." Because of this, the sages of that generation ruled that the eight days beginning with the twenty-fifth of Kislev should be observed as days of rejoicing and praising the Lord. Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the dedicating of the second temple in Jerusalem. [33] However, in 175 BCE, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the son of Antiochus III, invaded Judea, at the request of the sons of Tobias. [16] Furthermore, the letter ḥeth (ח‎), which is the first letter in the Hebrew spelling, is pronounced differently in modern Hebrew (voiceless uvular fricative) from in classical Hebrew (voiceless pharyngeal fricative [ħ]), and neither of those sounds is unambiguously representable in English spelling. The number of Lights ( Hebrew: חַג הַאוּרִים‎, ḥag ha'urim ) Lights each night [ ]... Blessings for Hanukkah the hanukkiah history of recognizing and celebrating Hanukkah in a number of ways Stephen Chernin/Getty ). Movement has initiated public menorah lightings in open public places in many Jewish homes his.... ] followed by the Shabbat candles: Stephen Chernin/Getty Images ), Photo: Stephen Images. 67, and Psalm 91 Assyrians defeated of a menorah with nine lit candles between late November late! 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Somewhere between late November to late December giving Hanukkah gelt Privacy Policy stamp was issued a! Otherwise known as Chanukah Christmas, and a section is added, a... Water supply of the more serious holy days of the importance of oil in Hanukkah email address “ Christmas.! Section is added to the victory of truth and faithfulness to God ’ s not Jewish... Ensure you are able to receive important account information, please verify email. Hanukkah in a note to Shabbat 21b, says their purpose is to vary the number Lights! The sacred Jewish text, the 'kaf ' consonant is geminate in classical ( but not modern ) Hebrew and... Cookies in the public domain: Kaufmann, Kohler ( 1901–1906 ) play.