Hanukkah Quick Facts - AU

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2023 Date15 December 2023

Hanukkah (End)

Hanukkah (End) in
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The observance of Hanukkah Ends marks the conclusion of Hanukkah, a significant Jewish festival celebrated worldwide, including Australia. Also called the Festival of Lights, it commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem and the miracle that occurred there. The historical event portrayed a one-day supply of oil miraculously burning for eight days, thus a key part of this observance includes lights—from the menorah's eight branches to celebratory displays. It is a time of family gatherings, games, and special feasts, with traditions reflecting the importance of faith, resilience, and the miracle of the oil.

The Jewish community in Australia, being one of the most diverse worldwide due to significant immigration waves during and after World War II, contributes to the multicultural character of the Australian society. This dynamic has allowed for the preservation and sharing of Hanukkah traditions with the broader Australian population. As Hanukkah Ends is observed, it brings communities together, highlighting the values of faith, persistence, and the triumph of light over darkness—themes resonant in the Australian ethos of mateship and resilience.

In observance of Hanukkah Ends in Australia, there is usually a menorah lighting ceremony in public spaces. This serves as a hallmark event symbolising unity, tolerance, and freedom. Presents are often given to children and charitable activities take place, acting as a reminder of the altruistic and community-oriented values. Depending on the Hebrew calendar, Hanukkah Ends in Australia typically occurs in late November to late December. This coincides with the Australian summer season. Thus, outdoor gatherings, alfresco dinners, and communal celebrations are common, offering a unique Australian touch to a globally respected Jewish tradition.

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Facts about Hanukkah

  • Hanukkah commemorates the cleansing and re-dedicating of the Temple in Jerusalem more than 2000 years ago. Syrian king Antiochus had ordered the Jews to abandon the Torah and worship Greek gods. In retaliation, Judas Maccabeus retook the temple in Jerusalem.
  • On the final night of Hanukkah, the last candle of the menorah is lit. The lighting of the menorah serves as a reminder to those passing by of the miracle that occurred so long ago when the remaining bit of pure oil burned for eight nights.
  • The "miracle of the oil lamp" refers to a legend where a one-day supply of oil miraculously burned for eight days.
  • Australia has a significant Jewish population, with over 100,000 Jews living mainly in the cities of Sydney and Melbourne.
  • Community menorah lightings are popular in Australia. Some of them are in public places or hold public events. For example, Melbourne has an annual menorah lighting in the city's central business district.

Top things to do in Australia for Last Day of Hanukkah

  • Enjoy traditional fried foods like latkes, sufganiyot, or apple fritters.
  • Enjoying a family meal with traditional Hanukkah foods like latkes (potato pancakes), sufganiyot (jelly-filled doughnuts), and other fried treats is a popular way to celebrate the holiday.
  • Visit Jewish historical sites and landmarks around the country to learn about the history of Jewish people in Australia. Some popular sites include the Sydney Jewish Museum, the Jewish Holocaust Centre in Melbourne, and the Jewish Community Centre in Canberra.

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