Ah, yes, Hanukkah. The feast of the lights. The “Jewish Christmas”.
The holiday that Adam Sandler wrote a song about.
For Jews, however, Hanukkah is not really that religious of a holiday – although it is often the most important Jewish holiday due to its proximity to Christmas. It’s not. Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Passover, for example, are observed more religiously, although Hanukkah certainly has cultural significance.
As a child, Hanukkah meant that I, like my predominantly Christian classmates, could receive gifts and not feel excluded. It also meant that we politely nod (and always do) when someone says ‘Merry Christmas’ from mid-December to the end of December and tries to remember to say it.
This year, my family and I want to celebrate it during the coronavirus pandemic. Tip: we do a family zoom.
So if ukanuko is not so religious, what is it all about?
Disclaimer: Like all minorities, I am just one of many members, and my experiences do not reflect that of all Jews.
What exactly is Hanukkah, and when is it?
Ukanuko, known as the Festival of Lights, celebrates the dedication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem during the second century BC. K. The event took place when the Jews rose up against the Greek-Syrian rulers in the Maccabean uprising and expelled them from Jerusalem, along the historic canal.