Hanukkah Quick Facts - CA

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2023 DateDecember 15, 2023

Hanukkah (End)

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Hanukkah, also known as Chanukah, is a Jewish festival that commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. This eight-day festival is also recognized as the Festival of Lights for the miracle that occurred; a single day's supply of oil lit the Temple's menorah for eight days. The Observance of Hanukkah’s end marks the close of this remembrance-period, symbolic of the triumph of light over darkness and spirituality over materialism. The Observance emphasizes the values of resilience, faith, and unity.

Canada is home to a vibrant Jewish community, many of whom acknowledge Hanukkah and its conclusion. The presence of Hanukkah celebrations in Canada can be traced back to the 18th century when the first Jewish settlers arrived. Over the years, Hanukkah's recognition has expanded significantly, from private family observances to public celebrations, and is respected as a cultural staple within the diverse Canadian society. The conclusion of Hanukkah is equally notable within the community, symbolizing the end of a period of enlightenment and reflection.

In Canada, Hanukkah’s end is observed similarly to other parts of the world. The Observance is marked by prayer, the final lighting of the menorah, and family gatherings. Additionally, many synagogues and Jewish community centers host special events to mark the end of Hanukkah, including communal prayer services and festive meals. The specific date of Hanukkah’s end varies each year, but it typically falls in late December or early January, in accordance with the Hebrew calendar, which determines the festival's duration.

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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.
  • Early Jewish settlers in Canada were primarily from Central and Eastern Europe, while later waves of immigration brought Jews from North Africa, the Middle East, and the former Soviet Union.
  • The holiday commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem after the Maccabean Revolt against the Greek-Syrian rulers in the 2nd century BCE. The story goes that when the temple was rededicated, there was only enough oil to burn for one day, but it miraculously burned for eight days.

Top things to do in Canada for Last Day of Hanukkah

  • Enjoy traditional fried foods like latkes, sufganiyot, or apple fritters.
  • Gather family and friends for a friendly dreidel tournament.
  • Take some time to reflect on the meaning of Hanukkah and express gratitude for the blessings in your life as the holiday concludes.

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