The article has been automatically translated into English by Google Translate from Russian and has not been edited.
Переклад цього матеріалу українською мовою з російської було автоматично здійснено сервісом Google Translate, без подальшого редагування тексту.
Bu məqalə Google Translate servisi vasitəsi ilə avtomatik olaraq rus dilindən azərbaycan dilinə tərcümə olunmuşdur. Bundan sonra mətn redaktə edilməmişdir.

Hanukkah is not just Jewish Christmas: the history and traditions of one of the main Jewish holidays


Nadezhda Verbitskaya

Subscribe to ForumDaily NewYork on Google News

Because Hanukkah and Christmas fall at the same time of the year, people often wonder if Hanukkah is the Jewish version of Christmas. At least from a religious point of view, this is not the case. If Christmas marks the birth of Jesus, then Hanukkah, which was celebrated many centuries before the birth of Jesus, marks something completely different.

So what is Hanukkah? Read on to find out everything about this holiday, from its history, traditions, to the number of candles on the menorah. You will learn what the colors of Hanukkah mean, how to congratulate your loved ones on the holiday this year, and what you need to know about Christ.

What is Hanukkah

Photo: IStock

Hanukkah is celebrated in honor of the victory in 164 BC. groups of the Jewish people (Maccabees) over the Syrian Greeks who have occupied the Land of Israel since 167 B.C. The Greeks not only destroyed the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, but completely banned the practice of Judaism. After a three-year struggle, the Maccabees liberated the temple and won the right for the Jewish people to practice their religion.

Scholars believe that the first holiday of Hanukkah was a belated celebration of Sukkot, a week-long holiday usually celebrated in the fall. When the Maccabees defeated the Syrian Greeks, they wanted to commemorate the important holidays they had missed during the Maccabean rebellion. Although it was the beginning of winter, they celebrated Sukkot when they rededicated the temple. It was never celebrated again in winter - it again became an autumn holiday.

When the church was re-consecrated, the lights were turned on. Since the invention of electricity was still very, very far away, people relied on oil lamps. At the time of the temple dedication, oil was in short supply - enough to provide illumination for one day. But miraculously, the oil continued to burn the entire time that the Jewish people celebrated Sukkot—for a full eight days, including the dedication. That is why Hanukkah has always been celebrated for eight nights.

The Jewish people continued to celebrate the dedication of the temple every year. But another 250 years passed before Hanukkah was called the festival of light. The term was coined by the Hebrew historian Flavius ​​Josephus. Some historians believe that Joseph did not mean lighting lamps, but enlightenment. That is, the newly acquired freedom of worship. In any case, this concept stuck. In fact, many people associate Hanukkah with the miracle of the oil rather than the rededication of the Temple.

When does Hanukkah begin

In 2022, Hanukkah starts at sunset on December 18th and ends at sunset on December 26th. If you're wondering why Hanukkah falls on a different date each year, according to the Jewish calendar, it doesn't. The dedication took place on the 25th of Kislev in 164 BC. Since then, every year Hanukkah begins on the 25th of Kislev. However, the Jewish calendar is lunar. That is, it follows the moon, while most of the world uses a solar calendar. Since the lunar and solar calendars do not coincide, Hanukkah can fall at any time between the end of November and the end of December.

How Hanukkah is celebrated

Hanukkah is celebrated by playing dreidel, singing holiday songs, exchanging gifts, preparing delicious Hanukkah meals. They remind us of the oil that burned for eight days in the Temple in Jerusalem (jelly-filled donuts called sufganiyot) and the lighting of candles during blessings.

Ignition of the menorah

Photo: IStock

The traditional Jewish menorah has seven branches for seven candles. It is considered a symbol of the Jewish religion. It was she who was used by the Jews during the first celebration of Hanukkah in the Jerusalem Temple. The menorah that we now use for Hanukkah is called Hanukkah. She has nine candles: one symbolizes the original vial of oil and eight represent the days of oil burning. It was not part of Jewish practice. At least some time after Joseph first wrote about the festival of light.

Chanukia is usually lit after sunset. But depending on which branch of the Jewish faith you belong to, you can wait until nightfall. On the first night, one candle is placed on the farthest place to the right. And from it, the shammash (the ninth candle) is lit, which is then placed in the place allotted to it. Each successive night, a new candle is placed to the left of the previous candle of the previous night, but the shammash lights them all from left to right.

Hanukkah games

Playing with dreidels, or spinning wheels, is a Hanukkah tradition for all ages. This custom appeared during the time of the Greek-Syrian rule in the Holy Land. Since the study of Torah was forbidden at that time, Jewish children pretended to play with a dreidel, when in fact they were studying.

Although wrapped gifts are more popular today than ever before, the traditional Hanukkah gift is gelt, or money. Some people say that due to the increasing popularity of Christmas gifts, more Jews are choosing to give gifts.

On the subject: Hanukkah bar to open in New York in December

Hanukkah Facts

The word "Hanukkah" in Hebrew means "dedication or commitment" and refers to the rededication of the temple after the victory of the Maccabees.

Hanukkah dishes are fried for a special reason.

Traditional Hanukkah dishes are fried because they are dedicated to the miracle of the oil that kept the menorah light. Traditional dishes include latkes, donuts with jelly filling and pancakes.

Menorahs were not always placed in windows

Although it is customary to put the menorah in the window, this tradition did not always exist. In Mishnaic times, the menorah was placed on the left side of the door before being brought into the room. Since the mezuzah is on the right side, placing the menorah on the left means you are surrounded by holiness.

The Maccabees are part of the Septuagint.

The first and second books of Maccabees are part of the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, which became the model for the Christian version of the Bible.

Jesus would celebrate Hanukkah

Jesus, born into a Jewish family more than a century after the events described in 1 Maccabees and 2 Maccabees, was supposed to celebrate Hanukkah with his fellow Jews in the 10st century AD. The evidence that he celebrated Hanukkah is found in John 22:24-XNUMX, which says that Jesus was present at the initiation feast in Jerusalem.

There is no single correct way to write Hanukkah

In fact, there is no correct spelling of Hanukkah in English. In Hebrew it is “חנוכה”, but since Hanukkah is a Hebrew word and Hebrew cannot be written in English letters, there is no standard English spelling. Instead, it is written phonetically, which allows for various interpretations.

Subscribe to ForumDaily NewYork on Google News
WP2Social Auto Publish Powered By: