Happy Hanukkah!

An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man lights candles during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah in Jerusalem's Mea Shearim neighborhood in Jerusalem, Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017. The Jewish festival of light is an eight-day commemoration of the Jewish uprising in the second century B.C. Against the Greek-Syrian kingdom, which had tried to put statues of Greek gods in the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Hanukkah began last night (Sunday) …and is officially underway! Last night at sundown marked the beginning of the eight-day Jewish celebration of Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights!

Hanukkah starts on a different day each year according to the Western calendar, but it always begins on the 25thof Kislev on the Hebrew calendar. The word “Hanukkah” means dedication or induction, and the holiday signifies the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem after the Maccabees revolted against Alexander, Antiochus IV and his persecution of the Jews.

According to the Talmud, at the time of the rededication there was only enough oil left to burn the eternal flame in the temple for one day. It lasted for eight days—just the amount of time needed to make a fresh supply of oil. Hence, it is tradition at Hanukkah to light a candle on the menorah for each of the eight nights of Hanukkah. So feel free to wish your Jewish friends a Hanukkah Sameach[[HAHN-oo-KAH sah-MEY-akh]] or Chag Sameach [[shag sah-MEY-akh]]!

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