A Little Bit of History…• The Jewish holiday Hanukkah is also called the Festival of Lights.• Antiochus, king of Syria and his army killed many people and destroyed the Jewish temple.• They stole a holy lamp, called the Menorah. The lamps flame, which always burned brightly, went out.
Maccabees to the Rescue!• Mattathias and his sons wanted to fight to take back the Temple.• Mattathias became sick. He named one of his sons, Judah the Maccabee, as the new leader.• The Maccabees fought their enemy until the Jewish people were free.• The people cleaned the temple and repaired the menorah.• The oil that was supposed to only burn for one day instead burned for eight!
How is Hanukkah Celebrated? • Every year at the time of the Maccabees victory, Jewish people celebrate. • Candles are lit at sundown for eight nights in a row. Menorahs have nine branches; the ninth branch is for the shamash, which is used to light the other eight candles. • Three special prayers are said over the candles.
What Else do People do onHanukkah? • People eat potato latkes or sufganiyot, which are both oily treats. • Fried foods are associated with the holiday, since it was oil that kept the sacred fire burning. • Latkes are eaten by Ashkenazi Jews • Sufganiyot are eaten by Sephardic Jews
• Children play dreidel games.• A dreidel is a four sided top with a letter on each side.• Some people claim that the dreidel game originated when Jewish children were not allowed to study Torah. • If an official came along, they would quickly pull out these toys and appear to just be playing a game.
Fun Hanukkah Facts!• Unlike most spelling words you remember from school, Hanukkah can be correctly spelled many different ways, including:• Chanukah• Chanukkah• Hanukah.
Fun Hanukkah Facts!• Hanukkah is called a festival and not a holiday because it is meant to be celebrated.• It is one of the only Jewish celebrations during which Jewish People are not required to go to Synagogue.
Fun Hanukkah Facts!• Unlike most of the holiday stories, the story of Hanukkah is not mentioned in the Torah (the Old Testament).• The events that led up to the holiday happened after the Torah period in 164 B.C.E.
Fun Hanukkah Facts!• Hanukkah starts on the 25th of the month of Kislev. • Because the Hebrew calendar is lunar rather than solar, it can fall anywhere from November to early January on the standard calendar.• There are 12 months in the Jewish calendar, except every 4th year when there are 13!
Fun Hanukkah Facts!• Gift–giving is not traditionally associated with Hanukkah.• At most a small amount of money or a sweet would be given to children. • As Hanukkah became more popular in the U.S. and Canada, the idea of 8 nights of gifts grew in acceptance.
Fun Hanukkah Facts!• The 9-branched candelabra that holds the Hanukkah candles is called a Hanukkiah. • Many people call it a Menorah, but a menorah actually has 7 branches and is associated with the Temple.
Fun Hanukkah Facts! • On the first night, the Shamash plus one other candle are lit. On the second night, the Shamash plus two candles are lit and so on through the 8 nights. • It takes 44 candles all together to observe all the nights of Chanukkah. • Once they are lit, the candles may not be used for any other purpose, such as lighting other candles or reading. And they must burn for at least a half an hour.
Hanukkah Songs There are many traditional songs for the festival of Hannukah including this one- Who can retell the things that befell us, who can count them? Mi Y’malel In every age a hero or sage came to our aid Who can retell the things Mi ymalel gvurot Yisrael that befell us, who can Otan mi yimneh? count them? Hein bkhol dor yakum hagibor, go-el In every age a hero or ha-am. sage came to our aid Mi yemalel gvurot Yisra-el Otan mi yimneh? Hear! In days of yore in Israels ancient land Hen bkhol dor yakum hagibor, go-el Maccabeus led the ha-am. faithful band Now all Israel must as Shma! Ba-yamim ha-heim ba-zman one arise hazeh Redeem itself through Maccabee moshiya ufodeh deed and sacrifice Uvyameinu kol am Yisrael Yitacheid yakum lhiga-el.
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