Festival facts: Hanukkah

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By Louise Tellamteacher and freelance writer

Find out how and why Jewish people celebrate this special festival

Hanukkah candles

What is Hanukkah?

Hanukkah is a Jewish festival that takes place in December that was established by Judas Maccabaeus in 164BC to ensure that Jews would remember the triumph of the rebel Maccabees and the miracle of the enduring light that followed when they rededicated the desecrated temple in Jerusalem. The focus of the eight-day celebration is the lighting of eight candles on a traditional branched candlestick, a hanukkiah.

Why is Hanukkah celebrated?

For Jewish people, the event that initiated Hanukkah encapsulates one of the recurring themes of their history, their struggle for liberation in the face of oppression. Time and again they faced persecution, even annihilation, but have survived as a nation.

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