Hanukkah (Judaism): December 24th – January 1st, 2016
In an effort to create more awareness about world faiths and philosophies, the Office of Internal Affairs and International Initiatives would like to notify campus community members about dates of significance within several world religions. This message relates to Hanukkah which is celebrated on December 24th – January 1st this year.
Hanukkah (sometimes translated Chanukkah) is a Jewish holiday celebrated for eight days and nights. Although according to Jewish law Hanukkah is one of the less central Jewish holidays, Hanukkah has become much more popular in modern practice because of its proximity to Christmas. Hanukkah starts on the 25th of the Jewish month of Kislev, which coincides with late November-late December on the secular calendar. In Hebrew, the word “hanukkah” means “dedication.” The name reminds us that this holiday commemorates the re-dedication of the holy Temple in Jerusalem following the Jewish victory over the Syrian-Greeks in 165 B.C.E.
According to the Talmud, one of Judaism’s most central texts, Judah Maccabee and the other Jews who took part in the rededication of the Second Temple witnessed what they believed to be a miracle. Even though there was only enough oil to keep the menorah’s candles burning for a single day, the flames continued to be lit for eight nights, leaving them time to find a fresh supply. This wondrous event inspired the Jewish sages to proclaim a yearly eight-day festival.
Every community has its unique Hanukkah traditions, but there are some traditions that are almost universally practiced. They are: lighting the hanukkiyah each evening, spinning the dreidel and eating fried foods (relating to the miracle of the oil). Jewish children may also receive gifts for Hanukkah – often one gift for each of the eight nights of the holiday.
*This information was drawn directly from a variety of sources:
Prairie View A&M University acknowledges and embraces the diversity of our students, faculty, and staff. Due to the great number and diversity of viewpoints, this resource is not able to provide an exhaustive list of significant dates for all faith and philosophical traditions. Likewise, the practice of special dates may differ based on region, denomination or generational differences.