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Hanukkah 2023: Jewish holiday guide

Hanukkah, or the Festival of Lights, celebrates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Here's what you need to know.

Hanukkah, also known as Chanukah, is a significant Jewish holiday that lasts for eight nights, typically falling in November or December. This year, it begins on Thursday, December 7th at sundown and ends at nightfall on Friday, December 15th.

The festival celebrates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem after the Maccabean revolt against the Syrian-Greek army. Hanukkah starts on the 25th of Kislev, a month in the Hebrew calendar, and is also referred to as the Festival of Lights or the Feast of Dedication.

The holiday holds historical significance as it commemorates the Maccabean Revolt against the Syrian-Greek army, with Judah Maccabee's victory over the Seleucids being a central focus. According to biblical text, the Maccabees found only enough oil to keep the Menorah lit for one night, but it miraculously stayed lit for eight nights.

The lighting of the menorah is a common tradition during Hanukkah, with families and Jewish communities displaying them in homes and public spaces. The menorah is lit with a primary candle first, and an additional candle is lit for each night of the holiday, from right to left.

In addition to lighting the menorah, other Hanukkah traditions include giving out presents each night, playing the game of dreidel, and cooking traditional dishes such as potato latkes and Sufganiyot. Chocolate gelt coins are also commonly given out during the holiday.

Hanukkah is a time for celebration and reflection, and it holds significant cultural and religious importance for the Jewish community. It is a time to come together with family and friends, share in traditions, and remember the historical events that led to the holiday's observance.

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