Hanukkah: what is this holiday and how American Jews made it popular

For the Jewish people Hanukkah is actually not so religious, although due to the proximity to Christmas it is often considered the most important Jewish holiday. This is not so. Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Passover, for example, are considered to be more religious, although Hanukkah definitely has cultural significance. About it writes USA Today.

Ханука: что это за праздник и как американские евреи сделали его популярным

Photo: Depositphotos

What is Hanukkah and when is it?

Hanukkah known as the Festival of lights, celebrates the dedication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in the second century BC. The event took place, when the Jews rebelled against Greek-Syrian rulers during the revolt of the Maccabees and expelled them from Jerusalem.

To celebrate their victory, the Jews wanted to regain the temple and light the menorah, but found enough pure oil for only one day. This one-day supply lasted for eight days and is considered a miracle in the Jewish faith.

Every year Hanukkah starts on 25 th of Kislev, the month in the Jewish calendar. It lasts eight nights, and in 2019 is between 22 and 30 Dec.

Whether oil was enough for 8 days?

The story of oil, enough for 8 days, dates back to the ancient rabbis, who seemed to be came up with the story, talking about lighting candles during the holiday. Some strongly believe in this story, although others are more inclined to focus on the lessons that he teaches a holiday.

How to spell Hanukkah or Chanukah?

Both options are correct. In fact, according to the Oxford dictionaries and Webster’s dictionary, there are more than a dozen spellings of the name of the holiday in English.

The differences arise because the name of the holiday comes from the Hebrew, which does not use the Latin alphabet. According to Webster’s dictionary, some of the sounds in Hebrew do not have exact matches with Latin letters, creating multiple spellings.

What happens during Hanukkah?

In commemoration of the holiday, Jews light one candle each night in the menorah, with nine branches. The ninth candle — the Shamash (“helper” or “chaperone”) — used for lighting the other eight.

Lit menorahs make in a conspicuous place, often on the Windows. Games tradelane, and the exchange of gifts and other Hanukkah traditions. Don’t forget about gelite, chocolate coins, which adults give to children during Hanukkah (the symbol of money that Jewish parents give to their children instead of gifts).

Hanukkah is not as important as Christmas?

No, at least not in the traditional religious sense. In fact, if you use Google and search for “Hanukkah is not of great importance”, you will find many articles that can tell you about it.

However, it is still important for other reasons.

Like other Jewish holidays, visit the Jewish Holy places is part of this event. “Rugrats”, a cartoon Nickelodeon, was shown in 1996 Hanukkah-themed, it is educational, cute and interesting.

But why do people really fuss over Hanukkah?

You can thank (or not thank) American Jews for it. Maybe it’s a direct response to the Christmas attempt to encourage the young people to make time for the synagogue.

Like most of the Jewish teachings, “she stressed one of the most significant themes in Jewish history: the struggle for Judaism, when powerful forces seek to extinguish it”. It also serves another purpose: the ability to reduce ethnic tensions and to assimilate.