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Chanukah - The Festival of Lights!
by Jade Walker

Image: menorah

Those of the Jewish faith celebrate the holiday of Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, on the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev. Because people today use a "western" calendar, the day Chanukah officially begins varies from year to year, but generally lands near the end of November to the end of December.

This eight-day festival of rededication is a favorite of Jewish people everywhere. During this time, there are many festivities and get-togethers, friends and families entertain, special games are played, certain foods are consumed and gift giving occurs.

But the premiere moment of Chanukah each night is the lighting of the candles on the menorah.

Over 2,300 years ago, there was a big clash between those who worshipped the Greek gods and goddesses and those who followed the Jewish faith. The Syrians of Judea, who believed in the Greek pantheon, demanded a unified religion and ordered everyone to convert. But some of the Jews refused.

This refusal was met violently and an uprising occurred. After three years of fighting with the Syrians, a group of Jews called the Maccabee finally won the battle, and drove the Syrians out of Judea. Then, they claimed a building as the Temple of Jerusalem, cleaned it of relics and symbols showing the Greek religious beliefs and dedicated the place on the 25th day of the month of Kislev.

The leaders of the rebellion wanted to light the eternal light known as the N'er Tamid, but found they only had a small oil lamp with enough fuel for one night. Still, they lit the lamp.

But to this group of believers, a "miracle" occurred for the fuel lasted for eight days.

Chanukah is a celebration of this miracle and of the victory over the Syrians which led to the dedication of the Jerusalem Temple.

To learn more about the celebration of Chanukah, visit:

Jade Walker (, also known as Pamela Wilfinger, is a published author, journalist, book reviewer, teacher, editor and freelance writer. She is the editor of Inscriptions, the weekly e-zine for professional writers, which was named as one of the 101 Best Websites for Writers by Writer's Digest. Ms. Walker continuously freelances for Snap.Com, Cyber Age Adventures and the Webbys. She contributed to the "Cyber Age Anthology," which will be published in paperback in January 2000.

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