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Hanukkah: Festival of lights

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Festival of lights. This holiday literally lights up every Jewish household all over the world who is celebrating Hanukkah. Celebrated for eight days, this 2,000 years old holiday commemorates the victory of Judah Maccabees over King Antiochus IV of Syria 2000 years ago and the reclamation and rededication of the Holy Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. It came with the famous story of the miraculous jar of oil that burned for eight days that should have lonely lasted for a day. (That is why Hanukkah is celebrated for eight days) The Celebration of this tradition emphasizes the triumph of God and his people over their enemies, and the freedom that the Jews are proudly enjoying today.

With blessings, games, and festive foods, Hanukkah is a huge Jewish religious event, it gets a lot of attention and is one of the most popular Jewish holidays in a year, especially because due to its timing around Christmas season. Hard to believe, even with its popularity, Hanukkah is one of the less important holidays in the Jewish calendar. What is considered a major holiday in Judaism is Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) or Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) and holidays similar to Sabbath where working is forbidden.

In Israel, Hanukkah is observed only as a vacation especially in elementary and high schools. People, who have jobs, go to work as usual. In America and other Christian nations, Jews regard Hanukkah as the Jewish counterpart of Christmas, as it occurs on the national holiday season and thus giving it special importance.

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