What you need to know about Hanukkah

PenneyVanderbilt

The Winter Jewish holiday known as the Festival of Lights begins at sundown tonight.

Jewish people around the world celebrate this traditional holiday that lasts eight nights. The festival is not a “High Holy Day,” like Yom Kippur or Rosh Hashanah, but is a joyful celebration that recounts the story of a miracle.

What Hanukkah celebrates

Also known as the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah commemorates the story of the Maccabees, or Jewish fighters, and their victory over the Syrian-Greek army, according to Chabad.org.

According to the Torah, the Maccabees reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and cleared it of idols that had been placed inside by the Syrians, a practice forbidden in Jewish law. The Maccabees wanted to light the temple’s seven-branched candelabrum, or Menorah, but realized they only had enough holy oil for one night. According to the story, a miracle happened and the oil lasted for eight days…

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