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The history of Hanukkah dates back to 165 BCE. Read this article to know more about the story of Hanukkah.

History of Hanukkah

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.