Hanukkah or Chanukah is an eight-day festival celebrated by the Jewish people around the world. The history of Hanukkah dates back to 165 BCE. The land of Judea was ruled by Antiochus, a Syrian King. The King ordered the Jewish people to reject all their rituals and beliefs and forced them to worship Greek Gods. Out of fear of the Greek Soldiers, some Jews obeyed King's orders while the rest of the Jewish people, out of anger, decided to fight back. Read this article to know more about the story of Hanukkah.
Fights started in a village nearby Jerusalem. Meanwhile, the Greek
soldiers gathered the Jewish villagers and asked them to worship a Greek
God's idol and forced them to eat the meat of a pig, both which were
against the Jewish Law. The Greeks also asked a Jewish High Priest
called as Mattathias to take part however, he refused to participate. As
soon as he refused, another villager came forward and was ready to
accept his place. Outrageous Mattathias took out his sword, stabbed the
defiant villager to death, and killed the Greek soldier.
As a result, Mattathias' five sons came forward, attacked, and killed
rest of the Greek soldiers. After all the killings, Mattathias took his
five sons and went to take asylum in a nearby mountain. Several Jews
followed them, who had decided to attack and defeat the Greek soldiers.
After a year, Mattathias died and his son Judah Maccabee took charge of
the Jewish army. The rebellion continued for the next three years. By
this time, the Jewish army was left with very few men and weapons.
However, the determined Jewish army fought hard and finally, the Jewish
army became successful in defeating the Greek soldiers.
After defeating the Greek soldiers, Judah and his men went to the Holy
Temple for its restoration. The Temple was in shambles. When they were
cleaning and fixing the damages, they discovered that many of the
precious items were either missing or had been destroyed. They cleaned
and repaired the leftover things in the temple and went on to light the
Menorah, a nine-branched candelabrum. They discovered that the purified
oil could light the Menorah only for one night. Miraculously, the oil
burned for eight days. This gave them enough time to fetch some more oil
in order to keep the Menorah lit continuously.
This gave rise to the establishment of Hanukkah, the Festival of
Lights. The eight-day festival is celebrated to commemorate the
rededication of the Holy Temple and the victory of Judah Maccabee over
the Greek soldiers. During the eight-day festival, the Jewish people
light Menorah on each night. Jewish blessings are recited before
lighting each candle. According to the Hanukkah tradition, the candles
should not be blown out.