an eight-day temple festival, that commemorates the successful
uprising of the Maccabees against the foreign domination
of the Hellenists from Syria and the rededication of the
Temple in Jerusalem in 165 B.C.E. (Hanukkah = dedication).
Tradition has it that only a single undamaged oil jug was
found in the temple defiled by the Hellenists. Its content
would usually have provided enough fuel to light the seven-branched
candelabrum for only one day. Through a miracle, however,
the oil was to be sufficient for eight days, so that in
the meantime fresh, pure oil could be produced. The eight-branched
candelabrum for Hanukkah can be traced back to this event.
At nightfall, candles are lit in the synagogue, at home
and nowadays also in public locations. On the first day,
one light is lit, on the second, two lights, and so on until
on the eighth day, all the candles are burning. Certain
blessings and songs belong to this ceremony. As long as
the candles are burning (at least 30 minutes), all work
should cease, but otherwise working is allowed during the
Hanukkah celebration, because it is not a biblical festival.