Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday commemorating the re-dedication of the Temple in 164 B.C.
came to control Judaea
in the aftermath of the division of the empire of Alexander the Great. At first the Seleucids let the Jews practice their religion, but eventually a ruler, Antiochus IV, who came to the throne in 176 B.C., reversed the policy of tolerance, and polluted their Temple. Under the Maccabees (aka Hasmoneans), the Jews rebelled and won. They then had to re-consecrate their Temple.
There wasn't enough oil to keep the candles lit throughout the night as was required, but by a miracle the oil that should have lasted one day lasted eight days, which was enough time to acquire a new supply, and so the holiday of Hanukkah commemorates this event. The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah is celebrated for eight days beginning with the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev.
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Pronunciation: (one way) 'hah-nuh-kuh
Alternate Spellings: Chanukah, Hanukah, Chanukkah