Around the world, people worship God in the way that seems right to them. This includes carrying out countless religious rites. Depending on the religion we profess, some will seem extremely strange to us, while others will be familiar to us.
The same thing that happens to us happens to the rest of the people. In general, the unknown seems strange to us and, therefore, we tend to feel a certain rejection towards it.
However, that does not mean that what is being done is wrong or that it is a satanic or other ritual. The problem lies in the lack of information.
It is precisely because of this fact that we become less tolerant and understanding. We could even say that this is the root of hundreds of armed conflicts and even genocides.
If you want to make a difference and change your attitude, this is the time to start doing it. As we said before, the key is misinformation. Therefore, to counteract this scourge, it is important that you seek the appropriate guidance.
Take the time to investigate and thus know what seems different to you and that causes you fear.
In this short article we will be giving you the opportunity to learn about one of the most popular Jewish practices worldwide, it is Hanukkah.
Some people relate it to Christmas and even claim that it is the Jewish Christmas. However, is it really so? How is Hanukkah celebrated? Would you like to know? If you are curious about this culture, you cannot stop reading this short article, since we will be explaining everything you need to know about it.
Let’s start by talking about some basic Hanukkah instructions.
Instructions for celebrating Hanukkah
Hanukkah or the festival of lights is the most important Jewish celebration of all and lasts about 8 days. Several events are commemorated with it. One of them is the defeat of the Hellenes and the recovery of the independence of the Jews, by the Maccabees.
On the other hand, the purification of the second temple in Jerusalem is also celebrated. Which was cleansed of the pagan icons that had desecrated it?
The true protagonist of this celebration is a candlestick called Hanukah. This one has 9 arms that hold candles. Starting on the 25th of Kislev, the third month of the Jewish calendar, each of these candles will be lit, one per day, until the calendar is completely lit.
According to Jewish tradition, the day begins after sunset. That will be the time to light the chandelier. On the first day two lights should be lit. These will serve as a pilot to light the rest of the candles.
It should be noted that it can be candles, but also oil lamps that will depend on the preference of the person.
Something that is also left to personal discretion is the chandelier. In general, each home has a special one for the Hanukkah celebration. However, in many parts of the world, each member of the family has their own personal chandelier.
This candle holder must be placed in a specific location. That is, in front of the window closest to the door that faces the street. This is done so that people walking down the street can see the lighting and remember the miracle that the Hanukkah party recalls.
Other practices that complement this festivity are related to food. For example, Jews often eat fritters filled with jam. On the Internet you can find several recipes on how to make them so that you do not need to buy them.
They also tend to eat fried potatoes, since Hanukkah food is usually fried in oil.
Another important feature of this celebration is the spinning top or whirligig. It is a spinning top that has four sides, where the Hebrew initials of this phrase are written: “A great miracle happened here.”
Children usually play with it for days and adults give them as a gift, along with the so-called bonuses, so they can buy sweets or whatever they prefer.
Now that you know how this Jewish holiday is celebrated, it is necessary for you to know why it is held. In this way you will know its meaning and you will be more familiar with the Jewish culture and its traditions. Let’s see it right now, in the next subtitle.
What do you need to celebrate Hanukkah?
As highlighted in the previous subtitle, Hanukkah is responsible for commemorating two important events. The first of these is Jewish independence and the second is the purification of the temple in Jerusalem.
The king of Syria had the desire to Hellenize the Jews and with this, he would force them to embrace paganism. This happened in the time of the Maccabees, who were a group of rebels who resisted and fought to defend their religious identity.
This they did, although the fight was unequal. The Greeks outnumbered them. Gradually, however, the Maccabees managed to expel their enemies and thus regain control of the second temple in Jerusalem.
According to the Talmud, when the Maccabees returned to Jerusalem, they found the temple completely desecrated. A seven-branched candelabrum, called the menorah, was supposed to remain lit, however, or they found it turned off and with very little sacred oil. In fact, it was only enough for one day. However, the purification process of the same took about 8 days.
Despite this not encouraging scenario, the Maccabees decided to light the menorah as soon as possible and, against all odds, it remained lit during the 8 days that the wait lasted. This event was considered as a miraculous sign.
In this way, the Jewish people determined that the event should be commemorated every year. Thus, they would have the opportunity to give thanks for the miracles granted to those who were faithful defenders of the faith and, later, to their ancestors.
Since you already know what the Hanukkah celebration is about and what it means, it is important that you take into account some additional tips, in case you are thinking of joining the celebration next year. Let’s see.
Tips for celebrating Hanukkah
In the celebration of the Jewish Hanukkah, the candle of the highest arm of the candelabrum is lit the first night, as well as the one that follows it. Then, after this, each day a new candle is lit until the 8 statutory days can be completed.
Candles should burn for at least 30 minutes. You can place the candlestick in the window closest to the doorway of the house. In fact, if it is outside of it, much better.
In winter, many houses use to cover the candles with small glass boxes, so that they remain lit.
Finally, at the end of the 8 days, family and friends gather around the fully lit chandelier and exchange gifts with each other.
Unlike other celebrations, Hanukkah does not include any kind of restrictions or prohibitions. So that it can be carried out at the same time that the daily activities of the family are carried out.
However, it is normal for families to gather for dinner during those days. This is done for the purpose of contemplating the lit candles and making their respective prayers of thanks.
If you are not Jewish, this celebration may seem strange to you. But, from now on you will have another conception of it, because you already know what its meaning is and the importance it has for the Jewish people.
Therefore, we learn that we should not judge the unknown. On the contrary, let’s investigate about it to give an opinion properly.