What is Hanukah?
Hanukkah begins on the 25th of the month of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar and lasts for eight days. Hanukkah, which means “dedication,” commemorates the cleansing and re-dedication of the holy Temple of Jerusalem after the Jewish people’s successful rebellion against the Syrian-Greeks in 165 B.C.E. Although they only had enough ritual oil to keep the lamp burning for one day, the oil miraculously lasted for eight days.
Learn more about the history of Hanukkah here.
When is Hanukkah?
The first day of Hanukkah falls on a different day each year. In 2012, Hanukkah begins on December 9.
How do people celebrate Hanukkah?
Those of Jewish faith commemorate the miracle of the Hanukkah oil by lighting a nine-branched menorah, or hanukkiyah. Each night of Hanukkah, another candle is added to the menorah and lit after sundown. Hanukkah traditions and celebrations also include eating food fried in oil, such as potato pancakes and jelly-filled donuts, and exchanging gifts. Children also play a Hanukkah game that involves spinning a dreidel, a four-sided spinning top.
Sources: history.com, timeanddate.com, judaism.about.com Photo Source: Dov Harrington, CC-BY-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons