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image depicting The Festival of Hanukkah

The Festival of Hanukkah

Recommended for Preparatory Grades

Chag sameach or Happy Hanukkah!

Hanukkah is an important festival celebrated by Jewish people, the followers of Judaism. It is also known as Chanukah or the Festival of Lights.

The festival celebrates a miracle that occurred back in 165 BCE. During this time, an army of Jewish people called the Maccabees had fought against their foreign rulers, the Syrian-Greeks. But after that, when they entered the Jewish holy Temple in Jerusalem, they found that the other gods had been put there. So, they held a ceremony where they light a lamp to purify the temple. The lamp had enough oil only for one day, but it amazingly lasted for 8 days! This is why the festival lasts for 8 days.

Hanukkah usually falls in November or December every year. This year, Hanukkah is from 10 to 18 December.

How is the festival celebrated?

The festival is observed by lighting the candles of a special candelabrum (candle stand) with nine branches, called a menorah. One special candle out of the 9 is called samash. On every night of Hanukkah, 8 candles are lit with the samash.

Other fun activities include playing the game of dreidel (a four-sided spinning top), eating traditional food and exchanging gifts.

Here is a video on the story of Hanukkah. Video credit: Homer/Youtube


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