Home History Happy Hanukkah (חֲנֻכָּה‎ or חֲנוּכָּה)

Happy Hanukkah (חֲנֻכָּה‎ or חֲנוּכָּה)

In Hebrew, the word Hanukkah is written חֲנֻכָּה‎ or חֲנוּכָּה‎ (Ḥănukā). It is most commonly transliterated to English as Hanukkah or Chanukah. The former spelling (Hanukkah), which is based on using characters of the English alphabet as symbols to re-create the word’s correct spelling in Hebrew, is the most common and the preferred choice of Merriam–Webster, Collins English Dictionary, the Oxford Style Manual, and the style guides of The New York Times and The Guardian.

The story of Hanukkah is preserved in the books of the First and Second Maccabees, which describe in detail the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem and the lighting of the menorah. These books are not part of the canonized Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) used by modern Jews, though they were included in the Greek Septuagint. The Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches consider them deuterocanonical books of the Old Testament.The eight-day rededication of the temple is described in 1 Maccabees, though the miracle of the oil does not appear here. A story similar in character, and older in date, is the one alluded to in 2 Maccabees according to which the relighting of the altar fire by Nehemiah was due to a miracle which occurred on the 25th of Kislev, and which appears to be given as the reason for the selection of the same date for the rededication of the altar by Judah Maccabee. The above account in 1 Maccabees, as well as 2 Maccabees portrays the feast as a delayed observation of the eight-day Feast of Booths (Sukkot); similarly 2 Maccabees explains the length of the feast as “in the manner of the Feast of Booths”.

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