Illuminate your soul in this Jewish festival of Hanukka. This festival significantly emphasizes religious freedom and it is associated with the winter solstice. For the Hebrews Chanuka means pure and simple dedication.
The origins of the festival
With the invading Syrians in the second century BC, the Jewish faith was completely shattered. The Syrians devised a way to dishonor the Jews by putting out the light of the menorah burning bright before the altar of the Temple of Jerusalem. It was after three years that the prestige of the Jews was reinstalled when the Syrians were defeated and the Maccabees were able to reinstate the Temple once more.
The Chanukkah Festival goes on for a continuous period of eight days to commemorate a miraculous event. This festival is celebrated to remind the Jews that the sacred oil was enough to keep the menorah burning for one single day, but quite surprisingly the menorah was there burning still for eight consecutive days.
How the menorah is lighted in the festival of Hanukka
The act of lighting the menorah is of immense significance in the festival of Hanuka. While the festival goes on, each evening the Jewish families gather around the menorah to light up this wonder lamp and offer blessings. A beautiful candle stand with nine branches is kept at the middle. The stand holds eight candles signifying the eight sacred days of the Hanukka festival. The candle at the center is the tallest and the rest are of the same size. The tallest candle represents the servant or the shamash . The light of this particular candle is used to light up the subordinate ones.
Food of Hanukah
The Chanuka festival in short can be exemplified as an oily festival during which the foods being offered are all of oily varieties. The potato pancakes and the latkes are the popular food items of the festival. However, the Israelis like to have sufgania a kind of jelly donut wonderfully cooked in oil during this famous Hanukka festival.
The history of Chanuka Festival
Look at the Gregorian calendar and you will find the festival occurring on the months of November to December. This joyful event is celebrated continuously for eight days and eight nights. It was in the year 168 B.C.E. that the Syrians took possession of the Jewish Holy Temple and compelled the Jews to adore the Greek God Zeus. The Jews were hassled to eat the flesh of pigs, which was contradictory to their religion. When nothing worse was left to happen the Jews started to fight back and attack the Greek soldiers at every possible situations in life.
The time came when the Jews gathered their strength and courage to fight against the Syrians and take measures to repair their Holy Temple. The Jews decided that they would offer allegiance in form of celebration. The dedication and the perseverance of the Jews mark the importance of the Chanukkah Festival.
The essence of the Hanuka Celebration
This ceremony is a fun festival for the little ones. After the candles are lighted several families sit close to each other to pass the special evening through eating and merriment. The Hanukah Festival maintains a gift giving tradition where the children are pleased to receive Chanuka belt or money.
Historically, the Hanukka Holiday is not so important like the other Jewish holidays. In recent times, the popularity of the Hanukka festival has gathered momentum, as it is closely associated with Christmas the pious occasion of the birth of Jesus Christ.