A child watches his father light the menorah to celebrate Hanukkah.Licensed from iStockPhoto
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or Ha·nu·kah also Cha·nu·kahnoun Judaism
Origin: Hebrew ḥănukkâ, dedication, from ḥānak, to train, dedicate; see ḥnk in Semitic roots.
Hanukkah - Cultural Definition
A festival in Judaism that occurs each December. Hanukkah commemorates the victory of the Jews (see also Jews) in the second century b.c. over the Syrians, who had occupied their country, and the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem (see also Jerusalem) (hanukkah is Hebrew for “dedication”). Observers of Hanukkah light one candle in a candleholder called a menorah each night for eight nights in memory of a legend that, when the Temple was rededicated, its lamps burned, without enough oil, miraculously for a week.
- Hanukkah was formerly one of the less important Jewish festivals, but today it is celebrated by Jews in many parts of the world — especially the United States, where it overlaps with the celebration of Christmas.