Yep, that's right!!! Only about two more weeks to go!
For all of those who don't know about Hanukkah, I'll summarize, or well I'll try! (Some of this I will paste from a play Sarah and Anna Marie wrote it's all true, mostly)
Our story begins in the Middle East about 21 centuries ago when it was under the influence of the Greek culture. There were many who were open to the Greeks and their ways . . . at first. After all, who wouldn't want things like philosophy, literature and SPORTS?!?! But then they began to forget the ways of their ancestors. They started to dress like 'em, talk like 'em and well you get the picture. In the small town of Judea, however the folks there didn't take too well to the Greeks and their ways. The Greeks didn't mind, hey they paid there taxes so there wasn't a problem. So everything was OK until 175 B.C.E. when a guy with a bad attitude came to the throne, his name was Antiochus of Epiphanes, try saying that 10 times fast. Let's just he wasn't OK with just tax money with him it was more of a convert or die type of thing.
So Antiochus and his men chased everyone off, but a guy named Judus Maccabeas, and his army of Israelites came and fought back all the bad guys. Then when they chased everyone off, they had to rededicate the temple. According to legend the only oil they had was supposed to last one day but lasted for 8 days, long enough to get more oil! The oil parts' just legend but it could be true.
You may have heard of dreidels, little tops that have four different Hebrew letters on them, Gimel, Nun, Shin, Hey, which stands for Nes Gadol Hayah Sham, which means: A Great Miracle Happened There, but in Israel the dreidels, say Nes Gadol Hayah Poh or A Great Miracle Happened Here. They played dreidels so that the kings men wouldn't know they were studying, they would just act like they were playing a game. Someday I might post how to play the dreidel game!
The reason people exchange gifts on Hanukkah is probably just an American thing, because the little Jewish kids wanted presents like the Christian's who did Christmas, so we give gifts on Hanukkah now!
We light candles each night on something called a Hanukkiah or Menorah, eight candles is to symbolise the oil lasting 8 days. The shamesh, which is normally in the middle of the menorah is lit first, then you light the other candles with the shamesh. There are other menorahs, called Temple Menorahs they only have 5 candles. Each night of Hanukkah you light the Shamesh first then go from right to left and on the first night you light the shamesh and the first candle to the right and the second day you light the shamesh and the first and second candles to the right and so on and so forth. Many people say that Hanukkah is the Festival of Lights, but really it's the Festival of Dedication.
To learn more about Hanukkah or Chanukkah click here.
So Happy Hanukkah to all of our blogging friends!!!
Sarah and Shadow