Hanukkah Festival

Hanukkah festival is from 8th to 16th of December(Saturday to next Sunday), in 2012, from 27th November to 5th of December(Wednesday to next Thursday) in 2013, from 16th to 24th of December(Tuesday to next Wednesday), in 2014 and from 6th to 14th of December(Sunday to next Monday), in 2015


Chanukah - Jewish festival

Chanukah, also known as Hanukah, can broadly be described as the festival of lights. This Jewish festival is celebrated for eight long days. It usually occurs in November-December of the English calendar. This festival is known for reclaiming the Temple of Jerusalem. The celebration of Hanukkah almost overlaps with Christmas celebrations. It is a time of gifts for the children and mouth-watering recipes for all.

Historical story of Hanukah

[caption id="attachment_1735" align="alignleft" width="400" caption="Chanukah, also known as Hanukah, can broadly be described as the festival of lights."]Hebrew word Hanukkah[/caption]

As per records, the Syrian-Greek soldiers had usurped the Jewish Temple and the Greek monarch Antiochus had forbidden the practice of Judaism while forcing the Jews to worship Greek Gods. The Jewish struggle against the Greek tyranny began with a Jewish High Priest named Mattathias. He later on gathered a group of Jewish soldiers and reclaimed the land from where they were ousted by the Greeks. This band of rebellion came to be known as Maccabees or Hasmoneans. Afterwards when they reclaimed the Jewish Temple as well, they had decided to purify it by the ritualistic ceremony of lighting Menorah for eight long days. But unfortunately there was just enough oil to last for a single day. Miraculously, after lighting the Menorah, the oil lasted for eight days and thus began the festival of Hanukkah to celebrate this miracle.

Menorah

A special feature of this festival is to light candles made of candelabrum. It is known as Menorah or also Hanukiah or hanukkiyah. One light is lit each night of the festival. The Hanukah Menorah has nine branches. Eight of those branches are lit during the eight days of festivities so that they have one candle burning the first day and then two on the second day till they light all eight on the final day; the ninth branch is called shamash and is used for lighting the other branches. There is also a ritual of placing the candles, which is done from left to right but then they are lighted from right to left. Lighting the Menorah is a full-fledged celebration performed in public by elected officials. New York has a 32-feet high Menorah, which is also considered the largest Menorah to exist in this world.

Hanukah music, recipes, and activities

In support of the celebration of the miracle of oil during this festival, the Jewish cook a lot of fried recipes. Pancakes prepared from potatoes and onions are an all-time favorite. These pancakes are called latkes and they are served fried in oil and accompanied by applesauce. Another very popular fired delicacy is sufganiyot, which is nothing but jelly-filled donuts.