Hanukkah – December 9th

Today is Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights.

Hanukkah

Hanukkah is celebrated by lighting one candle on the Hanukiah each day.

Hanukkah dates back two centuries before Christianity and literally means rededication. Hanukkah symbolizes how God looked after Jewish people in hard times.

The story goes that an ancient king in Syria tried to make Jewish people worship Greek gods. He built a statue of one Greek god in a big Jewish temple and ordered people to bow to it. The Ten Commandments forbid the worshipping of idols and the Jewish people refused. Three years of war and unrest followed these events. Eventually, lead by a small group called the Maccabees, Jewish people claimed back Jerusalem from the Syrians. Their temple, however, was destroyed. Jewish people then rebuilt the temple and purified it by burning ritual oil.

The purification of the temple marks one of the biggest miracles in Jewish history: only a small amount of oil was found (enough to last for a day) but the lamp in the temple burned a total of eight days.

This month a handful of countries is celebrating their independence:

Independence Days

Senegal celebrating its independence

Georgia, April 9 – Independence from USSR

Senegal, April 4 – Independence from France

Sierra Leone, April 27 – Independence from UK

Syria, April 17 – Independence from France (also known as the Evacuation Day, for it was on April 17th when the last French soldier was evacuated from Syria)

Togo, April 27 – Independence from UK

Zimbabwe,  April 18 РIndependence from UK

Happy Independence to you all!