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Photo: Cards Direct

What is Hanukkah?

No matter how you spell it, Hanukkah is the Festival of Lights, the holiday that commemorates the rededication of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem in the 2nd century BCE. Though Hanukkah has become especially popular because it falls close to Christmas-time every year, it is actually considered to be a minor holiday on the Jewish calendar. It is also one of the later Jewish holidays to have been instituted and does not appear in the Torah because the events occurred after the Torah was written.

In 175 BCE, Antiochus IV Epiphanes gained control of Judea. He outlawed the Jewish religion, and in 167 BCE went so far as to desecrate the Holy Temple by having an altar to Zeus placed there and ordering pigs to be sacrificed (very not kosher!).

A rebellion was led by the Jewish priest Mattityahu and his five sons, one of whom, Judah Maccabee, took over the rebellion after his father died. The family was called the Maccabees or the Hasmoneans. In 165 BCE, the Jews managed to defeat their oppressors and to rededicate their sacred temple. According to the Talmud, after the temple was cleaned, olive oil was needed to fuel the light of the menorah (candelabrum). Though there was only enough oil to burn for one day, the oil lasted eight days. On Hanukkah, Jews celebrate their religious freedom and what is considered to be a great miracle that occurred.

Here are 10 e-cards for Happy Hanukkah Day you can use to send them to your friends and family:

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Photo: 123 Greetings
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Photo: Cards Direct

What is the proper greeting for Hanukkah?

To wish someone a Happy Hanukkah, say “Hanukkah Sameach!” (Happy Hanukkah) or simply “Chag Sameach!” (Happy Holiday). Or if you want to show off your Hebrew skills, say “Chag Urim Sameach!” (urim means “lights”).

For more best wishes and quotes, check out our KnowInsider!

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