Hanukkah

Jewish religious season commemorating the rededication (164 BCE) of the Second Temple of Jerusalem after its desecration three years earlier by order of Antiochus IV Epiphanes; the Syrian king was thus frustrated in his attempt to extirpate the Jewish faith. Beginning on Kislev 25 (in December), Hanukkah is celebrated for eight days; during this time, in addition to the lighting of the ceremonial candles, gifts are exchanged and children play holiday games.

Quick Facts

Go Historic ID
16097
Names
Hanukkah
Chanukah Hebrew (transliterated)
Chanukkah Hebrew (transliterated)
Hanukah Hebrew (transliterated)
Hanukka Hebrew (transliterated)
Festival of Lights
Feast of Lights
Feast of Dedication
Feast of the Maccabees
Chanoeka Dutch

More Definitions

Jewish religious season commemorating the rededication (164 BCE) of the Second Temple of Jerusalem after its desecration three years earlier by order of Antiochus IV Epiphanes; the Syrian king was thus frustrated in his attempt to extirpate the Jewish faith. Though modern Israel tends to emphasize the military victory of Judas Maccabeus, the distinctive rite of lighting the menorah also recalls the Talmud story of how the small supply of nondesecrated oil--enough for one day--miraculously burned in the Temple for eight full days until new oil could be obtained. Beginning on Kislev 25 (in December), Hanukkah is celebrated for eight days; during this time, in addition to the lighting of the ceremonial candles, gifts are exchanged and children play holiday games.

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Bibliography

  1. 1.  The Getty Art & Architecture Thesaurus, 300069632. The J. Paul Getty Trust.