Hanukkah 2021: When it is and what to know (no, it’s not the ‘Jewish Christmas’)

Ah, yes, Hanukkah. The Festival of Lights. The “Jewish Christmas.” The holiday that Adam Sandler wrote a song about.

To Jewish people, however, Hanukkah isn’t actually all that religious of a holiday –though because of its proximity to Christmas, it’s often assumed the most important Jewish holiday. It’s not. Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Passover, for example, are more religiously observed, though Hanukkah certainly holds cultural significance.

As a child, Hanukkah meant I could get presents just like my predominantly-Christian classmates and not feel left out. It also meant nodding politely (and still doing so) when someone said “Merry Christmas” come mid-to-late December, and trying to remember to say it back.

This year my family can finally celebrate the holiday normally again after spending last year lighting candles on Zoom.

So, if Hanukkah isn’t all that religious, what’s all the fuss about?

What exactly is Hanukkah and when is it?
Known as the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah celebrates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem during the second century B.C. The event occurred when Jews rose up against Greek-Syrian rulers in the Maccabean Revolt and drove them out of Jerusalem, according to the History Channel.

To mark their victory, Jews wanted to reclaim the temple and light its menorah, but only found enough pure olive oil for one day, according to Chabad.org. That one-day supply lasted eight and is considered a miracle in Jewish faith.

Every year, Hanukkah begins on the 25th day of Kislev, a month in the Hebrew calendar. It lasts eight nights (yes, because of the oil), and this year it’s from Nov. 28 through Dec. 6.

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Ah, yes, Hanukkah. The Festival of Lights. The “Jewish Christmas.” The holiday that Adam Sandler wrote a song about. To Jewish people, however, Hanukkah isn’t actually all that religious of a holiday –though because of its proximity to Christmas, it’s often assumed the most important Jewish holiday. It’s not. Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Passover,…

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