Jews around the world will celebrate Hanukkah, also known as the Jewish festival of lights, for eight days and eight nights, starting the evening of Sunday, Dec. 6 and ending the evening of Monday, Dec. 14. The first night of Hanukkah corresponds with the 25th day of Kislev in the Hebrew calendar, which typically falls anywhere between late November to late December.
What Does Hanukkah Commemorate?
The word Hanukkah means “dedication” in Hebrew and celebrates two miracles: In ancient Judea, the Maccabees, or leaders of a rebel Jewish army, liberated a temple in Jerusalem from Greek invaders after waging a three-year war and their victory is considered to be the first miracle. The second miracle occurred in the temple itself, where the Maccabees found a small amount of olive oil to fuel the menorah, a nine-branched candelabrum. There was only enough oil to light the menorah for one day, and it would take eight days to produce new oil. The Maccabees lit the menorah, however, and found that the oil burned for eight days.
What Is The Significance Of The Menorah Today?
The candelabrum holds oil or candles, and Jews light one branch of the menorah on each of the eight nights of Hanukkah. The ninth flame, which is the flame in the middle, is called the Shamash and is used to light the other flames.
How Else Do Jews Celebrate The Holiday Around The World?
There are several traditions associated with the festival, including the giving of "gelt" or monetary gifts to children. Children also play with dreidels during the holiday. Foods associated with Hanukkah include several items fried in oil, like donuts and latkes.
How Do You Pronounce Hannukah?
Sometimes you will see the holiday spelled as “Chanukah” because in Hebrew, the word begins with the letter "chet." "Chet" is pronounced with a guttural, throaty sound -- like the “ch” in Johann Bach, according to Chabad.org, a Jewish faith-based website -- and doesn’t actually have an English equivalent. The English letter “h” is the closest, but some choose to spell it “Chanukah” to signify the "chet" in Hebrew.