Hanukkah, the Hebrew word for 'dedication', is an eight-day Jewish festival celebrated from the 25th of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar. Although the date changes with each year, this year the Jewish Festival is observed from 28th November till 6th December. Often referred to as the Festival of Lights, Hannukah commemorates the Jewish victory over King Antiochus IV, who desired to unify the Land of Israel, through violently enforcing a shared religion and culture across the land. However, this was to the detriment of Jewish rituals and laws, all of which King Antiochus Epiphanes IV had forbade. However, the Maccabees fought tirelessly and were victorious against King Antiochus Epiphanes IV's regime, a regime which had massacred thousands of people and desecrated the holy Second Temple in Jerusalem.
So why is Hanukkah celebrated over a period of eight days and what is the 'Hanukkah Miracle'?
Upon the regime's defeat, people were called to cleanse the holy Second temple, rebuild the altar and light its golden menorah. According to the Talmud, when the menorah was lit, there was only enough oil to keep the menorah's candles lit for a single day. However, to the surprise of many, the menorah's candles remained lit for eight days! To commemorate the Hanukkah Miracle, on each of the holiday's eight nights, people light a candle on a nine-branched candelabra called a Hanukiah. One of the nine candles are used to light the other eight each night.
On each of the eight nights of Hanukkah, families and friends exchange gifts, eat delicious food together such as latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jam-filled donuts). Celebrations also include playing games, reciting special blessings and singing traditional songs.
Check out the links below to learn how to make some delicious latkes and sufganiyots.
Charlotte is an LJMU 2nd year law student and also a member of Liverpool Jewish Society (JSOC). She explains the importance of Hanukkah to the Jewish community in this video.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact the LJMU Equality team: firstname.lastname@example.org
We wish you all a safe and lovely Hanukkah.
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Advisor