Sunset tonight marks the first night of Hanukkah this year! What ensues of this tradition will be eight days and nights in which its observers celebrate with latkes, dreidels, and lighting the Hanukkiah (which is the traditional candleholder that is often mistakenly called a menorah). Just what is this celebration about? Read on to delve into the subject to take a deeper look.Unlike Christmas, which arrives on Dec. 25 every year, Hannukah’s date jumps around from year to year on the Gregorian calendar. It arrives consistently on the 25 of Kislev—a month of the Hebrew calendar. Unlike the Gregorian calendar which considers just the earth and the sun, the Hebrew calendar which is lunisolar because it’s based on the sun and the moon as well.
We go back to 165 B.C. to understand the history of Hanukkah, when a Jewish rebel army known as the Maccabees defeated the Syrians and rededicated their holy temple in Jerusalem. This eight-day holiday celebrates a seven-day miracle in which the Maccabees only had enough oil to light the temple’s eternal flame for a single day, but even so the lamp kept on burning for eight!
The lighting of the nine-branched candleholder—often times incorrectly referred to as a menorah—is actually called a Hanukkiah. A menorah, on the other hand, has only seven candleholders—like the lamp that was used by the Maccabees in the ancient holy temple in Jerusalem.
Hanukkiahs have nine candleholders, which designates a candle for each of the eight nights of Hanukkah as well as one more for lighting the others. If you celebrate Hanukkah, you now can educate your friends and family on the holiday you’re about to celebrate! Enjoy your traditional tasty treats, fun games and toys, and the time you spend to honor the miracle. Happy Hanukkah and, as always, thanks for reading.