A very misunderstood holiday...Hanukkah takes place on the 25th of Kislev, the 3rd month on the Jewish calendar. Kislev used to be 100% synonymous with December, but, whereas the modern calendar is solar, the Jewish calendar, like the Old Roman calendar, is lunar. This is why Hanukkah is on different dates in December throughout the years.
In 168 BCE, on the 25th of Kislev, Antiochus Epiphanes, King of Syria and overlord of Israel, desecrated the Jewish Temple by setting up a statue of Zeus inside, and sacrificing a swine to Zeus. Many Jews were forced to worship the Greek deities, or else be killed. MattithYah Maccabee, and his son Yahudah led a rebellion, and within 3 years regained control of Jerusalem. On the 25th of Kislev, 165 BCE, the Maccabees purified the Temple, and re-dedicated it to the service of Yahweh.
The Purification/Dedication ritual took eight days. There was only enough oil to light the Menorah for 1 day, but, miraculously, it lasted for 8 days. In rememberance of this, the household menorah is lit for eight days, and fried foods, especially pastries, are eaten.
But, Hanukkah is really about religious freedom.
The books of Maccabees are the story of Hanukkah. You can find these in the CATHOLIC versions of the Christian Bible. For some reason, these are not included in Protestant versions.
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