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Hanukkah highlights rich tradition, enduring faith

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Hanukkah highlights rich tradition, enduring faith

Families celebrate by lighting candles on a menorah throughout Hanukkah.

Families celebrate by lighting candles on a menorah throughout Hanukkah.

Blake Loria

Families celebrate by lighting candles on a menorah throughout Hanukkah.

Blake Loria

Blake Loria

Families celebrate by lighting candles on a menorah throughout Hanukkah.

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December has always been a time for family, joy and love for me. For many Americans this sentiment is the same. However, the difference for me  is I celebrate this merry time observing not just Christmas, but also Hanukkah.

While Christmas focuses on thankfulness, generosity and the birth of Christ, Hanukkah is more about the celebration of God and showcases the strength of faith.

During the second century BCE the people of Jerusalem were being forced by the Seleucids to adopt the culture and beliefs of the Greeks. However a group of Jews, the Maccabees refused to do so, and fought a war against a gigantic military to reclaim the land and the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. The Maccabees persisted against all odds and rebelled against the Greeks. They fought and won against armies many times their size.

The Maccabees persisted against all odds and rebelled against the Greeks. ”

— Blake Loria, 10

This war occurred during a time when miracles ceased, prophets stopped walking the earth and the Jewish people were unsure whether God had abandoned them or not. When they attempted to light the menorah inside the Holy Temple they only had enough oil to last one night.

Miraculously however, the oil lasted for eight days. Although the miracle didn’t help the Maccabees win the war, or anything too spectacular, the burning oil reignited the faith in the Jewish people and showed them God was with them. After this event, the Festival of Lights, or Hanukkah was implemented.

The celebration of Hanukkah started on Sunday, December 2 and will end Monday, December 10.

Every night during Hanukkah the menorah is lit, with the shamash, the middle candle, being used to light, adding one more candle every night until the eighth day. The candles are added from right to left but are kindled from left to right. The newest candle is lit first. The first night is typically when families get together and a special prayer is spoken or sung along with the standard prayer:

Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, shehecheyanu, v’kiy’manu v’higianu laz’man hazeh.

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of all, for giving us life, for sustaining is, and for enabling us to reach this season.

Although my family does celebrate Hanukkah, we still celebrate Christmas.”

— Blake Loria, 10

Because Hanukkah usually falls in November or December people usually ask me whether or not I celebrate Christmas. Although my family does celebrate Hanukkah, we still celebrate Christmas. We traditionally receive presents from our grandparents on the first night of Hanukkah along with one present from our mother and get the rest of our presents on Christmas.

Although I do receive some presents during Hanukkah, the holiday is not about present-giving. Hanukkah is a time for celebration and thankfulness. I place a strong emphasis on the miracle. It reminds me God is still here with me, watching over me, even if he is silent.

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About the Contributor
Blake Loria, Staff Reporter

Hello! I am a sophomore, and this is my first year on staff. I love writing, and I'm eager to to start a student career in journalism as a staff reporter....

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Hanukkah highlights rich tradition, enduring faith