Definition of Hanukkah
An eight-day festival beginning on the 25th day of Kislev, commemorating the victory in 165 B.C. of the Maccabees over Antiochus Epiphanes (c. 215-164 B.C.) and the rededication of the Temple at Jerusalem. Also called Feast of Dedication, Feast of Lights.
[Hebrew nukkâ, dedication, from nak, to train, dedicate.]
Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Description of Hanukkah
Hanukkah, the "Festival of Lights", starts on the 25th day of the Jewish calendar month of Kislev and lasts for eight days and nights.
With blessings (see the Blessings
of Hanukkah), games, and festive foods, Hanukkah celebrates the triumphs, both religious and military, of ancient Jewish heroes.
Please read the Story of
Hanukkah for more information.
Hanukkah has only five letters in the original Hebrew. In English there are at least 16 ways to spell it, including: Channuka, Channukah, Chanuka, Chanukah, Chanuko, Hannuka, Hannukah, Hanuka, Hanukah, Hanukkah, Kanukkah, Khannuka, Khannukah, Khanuka, Khanukah, Khanukkah, and Xanuka.
Many Jewish holidays commemorate events invested with historical and religious meaning. Hanukkah means "dedication," and it commemorates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after its desecration by foreign forces. The celebration also reaffirms the continuing struggle to live by God's commandments and to lead Jewish lives.