When is Chanukah?
Chanukah (Hanukkah) was founded in commemoration of the fight against assimilation that dates back 22 centuries ago. It is also in honour of the Jewish resistance against Antiochus IV, a Syrian-Greek monarchs who rein the Northern division of Alexander the Great’s fallen empire. Unlike Alexander the Great who had been respectful of the monotheistic religion of the Jews, Antiochus IV had imposed Hellenism along with its pagan gods throughout his dominions. When Antiochus IV meets some resistance from the Jews, he immediately declared their religion as illegal.
Violation to Antiochus IV rule was subjected to a painful death. The study of Torah, circumcision and Sabbath observance were banned, and the installation of Zeus statue in the temple of Jerusalem were imposed. The Jews have been forced to abandon their faith and be subservient to the god Antiochus’ regime were obliged. This is clearly being told in the story of Hannah and her seven sons. They were being captured by the Antiochus’ soldiers and forced to bow down to an idol. The boys refused to kneel and bow and were tortured and killed in front of their mother.
Another historical highlight of the Jewish people’s fight against the assimilation was the story of the priest named Mattathias who hailed from Hasmonaim family. Matthathias resist the orders of the Syrians to offer sacrifice to an idol. He tore down their altars and killed those traitor Jews who obey the rules of Syrians. He eventually fled to the mountains along with his sons to wage a guerrilla war against the imposing authorities of the empire. Mattathias was being replaced soon after he died by his third son named Judah Maccabee. Although outnumbered, Judah’s small troops miraculously won the battle after battle against the ruling empire. They eventually recaptured the temple. They have immediately cleansed, purified and rededicated to God the temple, where Chanukas Hayabis was established–meaning a dedication of the temple to God.
This was done in the 25th day of Kislev, the Menorah where in the candelabra in the temple was lighted signifying the divine presence. It was being rekindled every time the Jews are celebrating its holiday.
Chanukah is a festival of rededication, and is a festival of lights. It is an eight day festival that commence in the 25th day of the Jewish month Kislev, which is usually in December. Chanukah was observed back then as a minor holiday, until the American Jews of the 20th century began celebrating more of the Chanukah than their ancestors did. Other development of the celebration entails the Chanukah festival such as the gift giving, while the gelt money is still considered a traditional one.
Here are some coinciding secular dates of the Chanukah festival for the following years:
2008: December 22 – 29
2009: December 12 – 19
2010: December 2 – 9
2011: December 21 – 28
2012: December 9 – 16
2013: November 28 – December 5
2014: December 17 – 24
2015: December 7 – 14
The Jewish calendar commence at sundown of the night beforehand. Therefore the first candle of the menorah is being lit the night before the date listed above.
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