How Did Chanukah Get its Name, What Does the Jewish Holiday Mean, and How Did the Festival of Lights Originate?

The word Chanukah means “rededication.”

Over 2,300 years ago, the Syrians occupying Judea were overthrown by a Jewish army led by Judah Maccabee.

The Syrians had desecrated the Jerusalem Temple with their own gods.

While cleaning and reclaiming the temple, the Israelites found enough oil to light the eternal lamp for only one day, but incredibly the flame flickered for eight days, a miracle celebrated to this day as the “Festival of Lights.”

The Syrians, led by King Antiochus, had ordered the Jewish people to reject their God and customs and replace them with Greek symbols and deities.

The rededication of the temple was on the twenty-fifth day of the ancient month of Kislev (scholars are uncertain whether this was in the new calendar months of November or December).

The Jewish army fought for years, led by Judah Maccabee and his four brothers.

Maccabee means “hammer.”

Judea was in, part, what is now Israel.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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