Those eight special nights are going to be here before we know it.
Every December, Jewish people around the world recognize the holiday of Hanukkah — also known as the Festival of Lights — to celebrate an important battle for their people.
Hanukkah commemorates how the Maccabees, a small ragtag group of faith-adhering soldiers, defeated the large and well-equipped army of Syrian Greeks.
Good always triumphs over evil, and a little bit of light dispels much darkness, offering a poignant takeaway that’s all the more resonant in recent years.
Whether you’re familiar with the holiday or have been invited to a Hanukkah party for the first time, keep reading for everything you need to know about the Festival of Lights, including when it’s celebrated in 2022, its storied history, and more.
Hanukkah commemorates the victory of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel over their Syrian overlords in a battle for religious liberty that took place from approximately 167 B.C. to 160 B.C.
The rebellion began when the Syrian rulers, led by the tyrant King Antiochus Epiphanes, severely restricted the rights of the Jewish people to practice their religion freely. Led by a priestly family named Maccabee, a relatively small band of Jews conducted a guerilla war that eventually grew into a full-grown rebellion.
Hanukkah itself not only marks the rebellion and the restoration of religious autonomy but a particular event: the liberation of the sacred Temple in Jerusalem on the 25th of the Hebrew month of Kislev and the restoration of religious practices at the Temple. This is why Hanukkah always begins on the 25th of the month of Kislev. Today, lighting eight candles over eight days symbolizes the necessity of gradual spiritual growth.
For these reasons and a connection to a tradition, millions of Jewish people around the globe celebrate Hanukkah every year — and look forward to lighting candles, honoring history, and making cherished new memories with loved ones.