Hanukkah, the festival of lights

This article is also available in: Italiano

To celebrate one of the most important Jewish holidays, the Middle East and Surroundings offers you 3 themed days. So let’s start talking about Hanukkah, the festival of lights.

The origins of the festival

The birth of the festival takes place around the second century BC, the Jews had just managed to drive the Greeks out of their lands, at very hard costs. The temple in Jerusalem had in fact been devastated by the invaders and the supplies of sacred oil were almost exhausted. According to the ritual, in fact, the menorah (the 7-branched candelabra) had to be constantly lit with pure olive oil, but the stocks were only enough for one day. It was then that the Hanukkah miracle happened.


In fact, the Asmodean priests prepare a menorah made of iron and tin which was able to consume the little oil left in 8 days, the time to create it again.

The celebration

The festival lasts 8 days, begins on the 24th of the month of kislev and ends either on the 2nd or 3rd of the month of tevet. During Hanukkah, Jews use a particular 8-branched candlestick called Chanukkiyah. Every day a new lamp lights up which must be positioned starting from the right but turned on from left to right. The candle in the center is called Shammash and must always remain lit to light all the others.


Other typical objects of the tradition are the 4-sided spinning top called sevivon and the sweets sufganiot. The first presents on the faces the letters of the Hebrew alphabet (nun, ghimel, hei and shin) which are the initials of the phrase “nes gadol hayà sham”, “a great miracle happened there” which refers to the miracle of Hanukkah. Sufganiot, on the other hand, are sweets that are associated with tradition as they are fried in oil in memory of the miracle, and the famous German donuts seem to have come from these.

3 days dedicated

We hope you enjoyed the article, our 3 days will continue with: the A-WA and “Someone to Run With” by David Grossman, if we can we also bring you a fourth surprise but no spoilers.

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