The annual Hanukkah celebrations begin on Thursday when the Jewish community celebrates a legendary uprising dating back more than 2,000 years.
The eight-day festival commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt, when Jews revolted against Greco-Syrian oppressors.
In 175 BC, the Jewish religion was banned by King Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who desecrated the Second Temple in Jerusalem.
10 years later, in 165 BC, a revolt was led by a priest and his family succeeded in defeating their oppressors.
When they arrived to deliver the temple, there was only one can of olive oil to light the menorah.
That should have lasted only one night, but because the menorah burned for eight days, it gave the group plenty of time to produce a fresh supply of Kosher oil.
To celebrate both the miracle and their religious freedom, Jewish sages proclaimed an eight-day celebration.
Hanukkah in Hebrew means “devotion” and begins on the 25th of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar.
Although the date changes every year, it usually falls in November or December. In 2020 it will start on December 10.
Often referred to as the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah is celebrated by lighting a candle on a menorah every night.
The number of candles lit increases every night, starting with one on the first day and increasing until all eight burn together on the last night.
People also share gifts, traditional dishes and games during the festival.
In addition to other major religious celebrations, there are a number of greetings that are popular and can be used at this time of the year.
How to wish someone a happy Hanukkah
To say ‘Happy Hanukkah’ in Hebrew you can say ‘Hanukkah Sameach’,
You can also say ‘Chag Sameach’ which means a more general ‘happy holidays’.
Another option is to wish your Jewish friends a ‘Happy Festival of Light’, which is ‘Chag Urim Sameach’ in Hebrew.