The eight days of Chanukah have already begun, so we figured we should write about the five most important facts that people mustknow about the Jewish holiday. According to Global Post, this year, Chanukah will be celebrated between 20 and 28 December.
1. The most important moment of the holiday is the lighting of the Chanukah Menorah, that is, the nine-branched candelabrum. The correct name of the menorah is the Hanukkiah and it is made out of nine candlesticks, one for each night of the holiday and an additional one to light all the other candles.
2. In Israel the lighting of the menorah is related to the Olympics because a torch is lit and a person runs with it from the Israeli city of Modiin to Jerusalem. When the runner reaches the destination, the chief rabbi lights a giant menorah at the Western Wall. The race is 20 miles long and this tradition was now adopted in various Jewish communities around the world.
3. Chanukah means “dedication and it is the celebration of the Jewish Maccabees’ victory over the Syrian army in Jerusalem. This holiday was long celebrated before it was popularized in the 1800s. Once it became more popular, the Jewish holiday was often confused with the Orthodox Christmas holiday because they are both celebrated within the same period.
4. The Maccabees were a small band of fighters who defeated the Syrian army. They were led by Matisayu and his son Judah. These rebels managed to stay strong in front of the Greek/Syrian threat which was led by King Antiochus. According to Global Post, the name Maccabee is an acronym for the verse, “Mi Chamocha Ba’eilim Hashem” (Exodus 15:11) which means “Who is like you amongst the supernal beings, O’Lord”.
5, The dreidel is probably one of the most important symbols of the Jewish holiday. Based on the statements of various Jewish people celebrating Chanukah, the religion of the Maccabees was taught in secret because during the Greek/Assyrians occupancy, it was forbidden to learn the Torah. Nevertheless, they would still meet in secret and if a Greek soldier would come to check on them, kids would pull out dreidels and pretend that they are playing a game.