Hanukkah, or the Festival of Rededication, celebrates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after its defilement by the Syrian Greeks in 164 BCE. The eight-day festival of Hanukkah is also known as the Festival of Lights and takes place in December, at the time of year when the days are shortest in the northern hemisphere.
Beginning in 167 BCE, the Jews of Judea rose up in revolt against the oppression of King Antiochus IV Epiphanes of the Seleucid Empire. The military leader of the first phase of the revolt was Judah the Maccabee. In the autumn of 164, Judah and his followers were able to capture the Temple in Jerusalem, which had been turned into a pagan shrine. They cleansed it and rededicated it. This event was observed in an eight-day celebration, which was patterned on Sukkot, the autumn festival of huts. Much later rabbinic tradition ascribes the length of the festival to a miraculous small amount of oil that burned for eight days.
Much of the activity of Hanukkah takes place at home. Central to the holiday is the lighting of the hanukkiah, an eight-branched candelabrum to which one candle is added on each day of the holiday until it is ablaze with light on the eighth day. (The Hanukkiah is also referred to as a Hanukkah menorah). In commemoration of the legendary cruse of oil, it is traditional to eat foods fried in oil. The most familiar Hanukkah foods are the European (Ashkenazi) potato pancakes, or latkes, and the Israeli favorite, jelly donuts, or sufganiyot. The tradition developed in Europe to give small amounts of money as well as nuts and raisins to children at this time. http://www.myjewishlearning.com/holidays/Jewish_Holidays/Hanukkah/Hanukkah_101.shtml
The first day of Hanukkah in 2014 is Wednesday, December 17. The first hanukkiah candle is lighted at sundown of the evening before. Find out more, and also find fun books to read, at the Library!
Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric A. Kimmel
“This 25th anniversary edition of a now-classic tale relates how Hersehel outwits the goblins that haunt the old synagogue and prevent the village people from celebrating Hanukkah.” [J KIMMEL,E]
Hanukkah by Lisa M. Herrington
“Introduces the youngest readers to the traditions, festivities, and history of Hanukkah.” [JE 296.435 HERRINGTON]
Hanukkah Bear by Eric A. Kimmel
“Bubba Brayna makes the best latkes in the village, but at ninety-seven, doesn’t hear or see very well—so when a bear arrives at her door, lured by the delicious scent, she invites him in to celebrate Hanukkah with her.” [JPB KIMMEL,E]
Christmas and Hanukkah Origami by Ruth Owen
“Celebrate the holidays by making crafts the whole family will enjoy. This informative book shows readers how to use the traditional Japanese art of folding paper to make fun Christmas and Hanukkah decorations.” [J736.982 OWEN]
Emanuel and the Hanukkah Rescue by Heidi Smith Hyde
“Angry that his father is afraid to kindle the Hanukkah lights, Emanuel stows away on a whaling ship, and when a storm overtakes the boat, it is his father’s change of heart and the family menorah that light the way home.” [JPB HYDE,H]
Hanukkah Haiku by Harriet Ziefert
“A traditionally Japanese poetic form [is] used to celebrate the eight nights of Hanukkah. There’s one haiku for each night, and stepped pages add one candle to the menorah every time the page is turned. The simple poetry is set off perfectly by Karla Gudeon’s vibrant, freewheeling artwork. Hanukkah Haiku is a jubilant, unforgettable journey through the eight nights of Hanukkah.” [JPB ZIEFERT,H]
Hanukkah Lights: Holiday Poetry selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins
“The traditions and spirit of the Festival of Lights are brought to life in these poems for beginning readers.
“Anthologist Lee Bennett Hopkins brings together today’s best children’s poets in this joyful collection of holiday verse. Melanie Hall’s lush, beautiful artwork accompanies these lovely poems.” [ J811.54 HANUKKAH]
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