The eight-day holiday is accompanied by lighting of candles on each day. This eight-day structure is reflected in the Hanukkah name, with the Hebrew characters for Hanukkah indicating, “Eight candles, and the halakha is like the House of Hillel” (Telushkin 1991, p. 111). While primarily occurring in December, from instance the 2012 Hanukkah will occur from December 8th to December 16th, it can begin as early as late November. This essay examines a number of traditional and historical elements related to the Hanukkah holiday.
There are a diverse number of historical elements associated with the Hanukkah holiday. Traditional accounts of the emergence of Hanukkah link it to occurrences surrounding the Second Temple. The Second Temple was looted and services stopped. This greatly limited the Jewish religion. In 167 B.C. Antiochus ordered a statue to Zeus was even erected in the Jewish Temple (Wood 1986). This ultimately proved to be unsuccessful as the decrees were largely ignored and a small-scale revolt occurred and Judaism was reinstated in the temple. This rededication is remembered by the Hanukkah holiday. The first such holiday occurred wherein a light with oil was lit that ended up lasting for eight-days and as such it became a tradition to observe the holiday for eight nights, with eight lights. Written accounts of Hanukkah first appear in the Jewish Talmud. ...Show more