Hanukkah ("Inauguration," in Hebrew)

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HANUKKAH ("inauguration," in Hebrew)

Jewish Festival of Lights, which celebrates the purification of the Temple after the victory of the Maccabees over the Hellenistic Syrians. Beginning on 25 Kislev, the day of the winter solstice, Hanukkah commemorates the inauguration of the temple built to replace the one that had been dedicated to the glory of Zeus by the Syrians, under the reign of Antiochus IV in 164 b.c.e. This holiday takes place during the period between the end of November and the end of December, and lasts eight days. The word hanukkiyah refers to the Jewish nine-branch candelabra, returned to the Temple after the Maccabean victory.