Hanukkah 101: 5 Interesting Facts

Geo Beats

by Geo Beats

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Here are five interesting facts about the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.

You may have seen the Menorah and Dreidels, but did you also know these five interesting facts about the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah?

Number 5 – Celebrates two miracles. First, the small Maccabee family defeated the strong Greek army occupying Israel. Second, when re-dedicating the temple, lamps burned for 8 days when they only had enough oil for 1.

Number 4 – Remembers hero and heroine. Judah Maccabee, one of the most celebrated warriors in Jewish history, led the revolt against the Greeks. (1,1,all;3,image) Judith, a young widow, tricked and killed the enemy’s leader.

Number 3 – Uses traditional rituals. Remembering the lamp miracle, the Menorah’s center candle is used to light the 8 other candles in a special sequence over 8 nights. During each lighting, people say blessings, sing songs, eat, exchange gifts, and play games.

Number 2 – Enjoys symbolic foods. First, fried foods like potato pancakes and jelly-filled pastries symbolize the oil in the lamp miracle. Second, dairy foods, namely cheese, symbolize Judith feeding the enemy leader cheese and wine until he fell asleep.

Number 1 – Not a legal Jewish holiday. Despite being the most popular Jewish holiday in america, Hanukkah’s a minor holiday in Israel and businesses remain open. Still, people celebrate this Festival of Lights publically by retracing the path taken by the Maccabees.