Jews to celebrate Нanukkah
Jews celebrate the feast of fire, light, joy and fun Hanukkah on the 25th day of the month Kislev. This year's celebration starts on December 22 in the evening. Hanukkah is celebrated throughout 8 days. Hanukkah is not a shrine feast but a historical one, it is not referred to in the Holy Scripture, although it has been observed by Jews and has become a tradition.
The main ritual is the ignition of Hanukkah candles in honor of the miracle that occurred in the Jerusalem Temple after the Maccabean revolt in the middle of the second century. B.C.
At that time, during the reign of Antiochus IV Epiphanes over Judah, Jews were forbidden to hold service in the Jerusalem temple, worship the one God. And in order to “facilitate” Hellenization of Jews in 168 BC, the king personally cooked a pig on the altar of the temple ruined by his soldiers, thereby having desecrated the altar. And ordered to install the sculptures of Zeus in the temple yard.
Priest Mattathias revolted against such king’s actions, he stood up in anger and killed the traitor that was ready to make a sacrifice to Zeus. The priest had 5 children, they attacked the soldiers, messengers of the king, and killed them. Then Mattathias and his sons fled to the mountains, and led a guerrilla war "for the one God." The rebels leader after Mattathias death was his middle son Yehuda, known as “The Hammer” (Maccabaeus in Hebrew) - thus the rebellion was called Maccabean.
Within three years, the rebels won a number of victories and liberated a part of Judah from the Seleucids, including Jerusalem. Everywhere they destroyed the pagan altars. On entering the liberated the Temple, they saw the Temple Menorah desecrated or corrupt. So they made a new symbolic Menorah, using eight military spears. Thus, it became a symbolic sign of conversion of weapons to symbol of peace, according to prophet Isaiah. This lamp is repeatedly mentioned in the Talmud.
The candles shall be lit on Hanukkah, according to the Talmud, “as soon as it gets dark and pedestrians start leaving the street.” In addition, the blessing for the lighting of candles and the miracle that happened is being proclaimed. On the first festive evening there is an added blessing for the hour (gratitude to God who let us live to this day and perform this mission). Then a passage from the treatise Soferim is read, which is explaining what is ‘Mitzvat Ner Hanukkah’ - the commandment of lighting Hanukkah candles.
The festive mentioned Hanukkah miracle and declared victory of the small over big, weak over the strong, of light over darkness.