Hanukah finds a prominent place in the list of global festivities. It is a festival celebrated by the Jews during the winter solstice. The festival epitomizes religious freedom. Hanukah, alternatively known as Hanuka, Chanukkah, Chanuka, Chanukah and Hanukkah, has a historical origin.
How the Chanukah festival began
In the second century BC, the Syrians conquered the Jews. The sanctity of the Jerusalem temple was lost at the hand of the Syrians. That was the time of the winter solstice. The Syrians extinguished the light of the menorah burning before the altar. After three years, the Maccabees defeated the Syrians and restored sanctity of the temple.
During consecration, the victors found oil sufficient enough to light the lamp just for a day. Surprisingly enough, the lamp remained lit for eight days! From then on the Jews continued to celebrate the festival of Hanukah every winter solstice and the festivities last for eight days.
Hanukah is considered to be a celebration of Jewish national survival and religious freedom. You might be curious to know about Maccabees. During the period of the Syrian oppression, Judah Maccabees and his four brothers organized a resistance group to fight back the Syrians. They posed stiff resistance to the Syrians and adopted guerilla warfare techniques. Eventually they were able to drive out the mighty Greek-Syrian army out of Judea. The victory reinforced prophet Zachariah�s message- �Not by might, not by power, but by My spirit.�
The significance of lighting candles
In fact, lighting has been traditionally the most significant part of the Hanukkah celebration. The lighting arrangement consists a candle stand with nine branches. This is the traditional Jewish menorah. Eight of the candles (corresponding to each day of Hanukah) are of the same height. The middle one is known as �shamesh� (servant). It is taller than the rest and is used to light up the others. On each evening, during the festival, the families gather around the menorah reciting blessings and chanting religious hymns.
Religious and historical backgrounds apart, Hanukah promises lots of fun and frolic for you. During this Jewish festival, you will find many traditional food items to relish. The items are cooked in oil, in remembrance with the oil that lit up the candles in the Jewish temple. Latkes (potato pancakes) have earned global distinctions. Another item that you will love to relish during Chanuka is Sufganiya � a special preparation of doughnut in oil.
At the end, you might wonder what the literal meaning of �Hanuka� is. In Hebrew, Hanuka means �dedication�. If you are a global tourist, why not plan your visit to the Jewish land during November-December? Hanukah promises you gala family celebration replete with foods and songs. You will love to see children enjoying the festivities. The Jews will cordially welcome you to have a share of the fun during Hanukah.