A Beginners Guide to Hanukkah

202010decAll DayHanukkah

What is Hanukkah?

Hanukkah is a Jewish festival with origins dating back over 2 centuries. Hanukkah is often called the Festival Of Lights (not to be confused with the Hindu festival Diwali, which has the same alias!). The festival lasts for 8 days.

What is the history of Hanukkah?
In the year 164 BCE, a group of Jews called the Maccabees rebelled against the oppressive rule of a Syrian King called Antiochus. In winning the battle, the Macabees regained the Temple of Jerusalem which had been destroyed. At the rededication of the temple, only enough oil was found to light the eternal flame for one day. But a miracle occurred and the flame remained alight for 8 days, enough time for new oil to be sought. This miracle is celebrated annually as the Jewish festival of Hanukkah.

Watch this 4 minute video from BBC Teach tells the story of Hanukkah in a way that young and old will enjoy.

How is Hanukkah celebrated?

During the 8 day festival a candle or oil lamp is lit each night in a special candelabrum called a Hanukkiah. Hanukkah is a special time for children with gifts and sweets being given and special games being played with a spinning top called the Dreidel. The dreidel, candles and candelabrum are often featured on Hanukkah cards.

Hanukkah, Chanukah – what’s with all the different spellings?

There is no official spelling of Hanukkah; a search on the internet will reveal many different, yet accepted spellings. The issue arises in the translation from Hebrew to English.

We don’t have a representation of the “CH” sound (as in Loch Ness) in the English alphabet, which is the correct pronunciation of the first syllable of Chanukah. For our Hanukkah Greeting Cards, we have adopted the two most widely used spellings: Hanukkah and Chanukah.