Hannukah: eight days of reflection and celebration


Photo courtesy of artimaginacion.com

The Hanukiah has been lit for another night of Hanukkah. Many families in the Jewish community will light their Hanukiahs for the holiday this December.

The month of December is known for being festive as it plays host to various holidays. Amongst those holidays is the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah; a holiday that holds symbolism and importance. Lasting eight nights, Hanukkah is a special holiday in the Jewish community.

“My favorite part of the holiday season is buying gifts for people and being with family,” junior Kira Krucoff said.

The history of Hanukkah dates back to around 200 B.C. when the land of Israel was taken over by Antiochus III. His son, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who took over after him, outlawed the Jewish religion and ordered that the Jews worship Greek gods. He also ordered his soldiers to attack Jerusalem and in doing so, the soldiers massacred thousands of people and destroyed the holy second Temple, replacing it with an altar to Zeus.

In response to this tragedy, a rebellion broke out, lead by Jewish priest Mattathias and his five sons. When Mattathias died, his son Judah Maccabee took control and within two years they had successfully driven the Syrian oppressors out of Jerusalem. According to Jewish tradition, in their rededication efforts of the second Temple, a miracle was witnessed. Despite there being only enough oil to keep the menorah candles lit for a single day, it instead lit for eight nights. In dedication to this miraculous happening, the Jews henceforth celebrated the eight night holiday known as Hanukkah.

“It’s important to remember the history of Hanukkah because we celebrate the eight nights the oil burned and how we survived together as Jews once again,” junior Alex Nevo said.

As Hanukkah is celebrated in Jewish households this December, the triumph of the Maccabees will be remembered and Hanukiahs (nine-branched candle holders) will be lit each night to symbolize each day that the oil lasted. There will be fried foods to eat such as potato latkes; families will sing songs and some will even give presents.

“My favorite Hanukkah tradition is lighting the menorah with my family because I enjoy spending time with them,” junior Lucas Guberman said.

No matter what holiday you celebrate this December, it will be a joyous month of festivities across all religions. Whether you’re going to services, getting presents or simply spending time with family, the holidays are always a special time of the year.