Celebrating Hanukkah

In the UK, and all around the world, Jewish adults and children celebrate the Jewish festival of lights called Hanukkah.

The exact date of Hanukkah changes every year depending on the calendar, but it will always fall in November or December.

Hanukkah 2019 will run from 22 December to 30 December.

Also sometimes known as ‘Chanukah’, the festival reminds Jews of a time over 2,000 years ago, when the Jews won a battle against the Greeks to practice their religion freely.

At the time, the Greeks had banned all Jewish rituals and King Antiochus tried to make Jewish people bow down in front of statue of him that had been put inside the Jewish temple, and pray to the Greek Gods, but they refused. A small number of Jews called the Maccabees fought against this and, after a three year war, were victorious.

The temple in Jerusalem was then restored and to celebrate the victory, the temple’s menorah was lit.

There was only enough oil to burn the candle for one day, however, it miraculously burned for eight days. This is why the festival of Hanukkah lasts for eight days and why light is a significant part of the celebration.

Jewish people will light their menorah each night of the festival, partake in special prayers and share plenty of delicious foods.

At the heart of the festival is the nightly menorah lighting. Special blessings are recited, often to a melody, before the menorah is lit and traditional songs are sung afterward.

Happy Hanukkah to all celebrating!

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