Facts About Hanukkah

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Hanukkah refers to the Jewish celebration and holiday that rooted from the Maccabean Revolt.  Back in the second century B.C., the Jewish people were oppressed and persecuted by the Greeks and Syrians.  The Jewish or Maccabees at the time was able to defeat their oppressors and was able to celebrate their victory in the so-called Second Temple.  The re-dedication of this Temple was celebrated with the lighting of candles or the menorah.  This day in Jewish history was a witness to the miracle wherein one lamp of oil was able to burn and give light for 8 days.  Aside from this miracle, there are other interesting facts about Hanukkah and here are 10 of them:

Fact 1:  Hanukkah is called the Festival of Lights.  With the lighting of candles and the menorah in Jewish homes and streets, Hanukkah literally transforms an ordinary night into a night of bright lights.

Fact 2:  The 8-day Hanukkah celebration involves using a 9-branch candelabrum called the menorah. The Jewish menorah actually has 9 branches.  The 8 candles or branches represent the 8 days of celebration and the center candle called the Shamash is the extra candle used to light other candles.

Fact 3:  2 branches of the menorah candles are actually lit on 1 out of the 8-day celebration.  This is simply due to the ninth candle in the center which is used to light the other candles.  To complete the lighting of each candle for 8 days, 2 candles are literally lit on one of the days, typically the first day of celebration.

Fact 4:  The menorah in Aish HaTorah Jerusalem is made of pure gold and costs around 3 million dollars.  Many menorahs are made of gold because of tradition but this is not actually a requirement.  Some Jewish families also use wooden candelabras to celebrate this holiday.

Fact 5:  The celebration of Hanukkah is not actually part of the Torah, or the Jewish holy book.  Most Jewish celebrations are instituted in this holy book but Hanukkah is not of them.  The Maccabean Revolt transpired post-Biblical times and this is why it is not instituted in the Torah.

Fact 6:  Kids are often given money during Hanukkah celebration.  Traditional Jewish families do this practice as a form of support for the kids in their community.

Fact 7:  Oily and fried foods abound during the 8-day Hanukkah celebration.  In reference to the oil lamp that created the miracle of lights, food items cooked and processed in oil like jelly doughnuts are popular during Hanukkah festivities.

Fact 8:  The Jewish invented the dreidel game to help kids learn the Torah without gaining suspicion from Greek and Syrian oppressors. This game is often played during Hanukkah to celebrate the Jewish people who won against their oppressors back in second century B.C.

 Fact 9:  Traditional Hanukkah celebrations were small and basic.  Most lighting of candles in temples and homes are only accompanied by simple prayers and no festivities.  It was only during the 19th century that many Jewish families celebrated Hanukkah with food and merry making.

Fact 10:  Hanukkah is not the Jewish version of Christmas.  It is often celebrated close to Christmas and some Jewish families gave gifts to children which has led many people to view Hanukkah as the Jewish Christmas holiday.

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