December 20 marks the beginning of Hanukkah, a Jewish holiday that is celebrated for 8 days and nights.
The traditions of Hanukkah are traced back centuries ago when the Jewish people won the battle over the Syrian-Greeks for the right to practice their own beliefs.
The holiday commemorates the re-dedication of the holy Temple in Jerusalem when the ritual oil burned for 8 days after their victory.
It is considered a miracle that the small amount of oil lasted that long. To recognize the Hanukkah miracle, the most important tradition is the lighting of the menorah, an elaborate candelabra.
Every night of the holiday another candle is lit while blessings are recited. Another tradition – related to the ritual oil – is the foods prepared during Hanukkah. Meals consist of fried foods like latkes (potato and onion pancakes) and doughnuts.
In Hebrew, Hanukkah means dedication. This is the message of the holiday when Jewish families reflect and strengthen their commitment to their faith.
Content provided by Oakland University