Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is a Jewish festival commemorating the recovery of Jerusalem and subsequent rededication of the Second Temple at the beginning of the revolt against the Seleucid Empire in the 2nd century BCE.
|Official name||Hebrew: חֲנֻכָּה or חֲנוּכָּה
English translation: ‘Establishing’ or ‘Dedication’ (of the Temple in Jerusalem)
|Significance||The Maccabees successfully revolted against Antiochus IV Epiphanes. According to the Talmud, a later text, the Temple was purified and the wicks of the menorah miraculously burned for eight days, even though there was only enough sacred oil for one day’s lighting.|
|Celebrations||Lighting candles each night. Singing special songs, such as Ma’oz Tzur. Reciting the Hallel prayer. Eating foods fried in oil, such as latkes and sufganiyot, and dairy foods. Playing the dreidel game, and giving Hanukkah gelt|
|Ends||2 Tevet or 3 Tevet|
|Date||25 Kislev, 26 Kislev, 27 Kislev, 28 Kislev, 29 Kislev, 30 Kislev, 1 Tevet, 2 Tevet, 3 Tevet|
|2021 date||Sunset, 28 November –
nightfall, 6 December
|2022 date||Sunset, 18 December –
nightfall, 26 December
|2023 date||Sunset, 7 December –
nightfall, 15 December
|2024 date||Sunset, 25 December –
nightfall, 2 January
|Related to||Purim, as a rabbinically decreed holiday.|
Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days, according to the Hebrew calendar and which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar .
The festival is observed by lighting the candles of a candelabrum with nine branches, commonly called a menorah or hanukkiah. One branch is typically placed above or below the others and its candle is used to light the other eight candles. This unique candle is called the shammash. Each night, one additional candle is lit by the shammash until all eight candles are lit together on the final night of the festival.
Other Hanukkah festivities include singing Hannukah dongs , and eating oil-based foods, such as latkes , and dairy foods.
Hanukkah is a relatively minor Jewish holiday in strictly religious terms. However it has attained major cultural significance in North America and elsewhere, especially among secular Jews, due to often occurring around the same time as Christmas during the holiday season.