Skip to content


Authored by British Online Archives
Published on 18th December, 2022 2 min read


Hanukkah menorah with burning colour candles for Jewish holiday

Today (18/12/2022) is the first day of Hanukkah (or, more traditionally, “Chanukah”). Also known as the “festival of lights”, this eight-day holiday usually occurs between late November and December. Hanukkah commemorates a Jewish rebellion against the Seleucid Empire in Judea (now Israel and Palestine) in the second century BCE. This rebellion culminated in a band of Jewish warriors – known as the Maccabees – successfully reclaiming the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. However, when they went to light the Temple’s menorah – a candelabrum of seven candles, which were supposed to burn every night – they found that there was only enough oil to last for one day. 

According to scripture, the menorah actually burned for eight whole nights, allowing the worshippers sufficient time to replenish their oil supply. In remembrance of this miraculous event – and as a symbol of freedom from oppression and light in dark times – the festival of Hanukkah has been celebrated ever since. 

On each night of this holiday, observers gather to spend time with their loved ones and light the candles (one more each night until the chanukiah is fully lit). They might also exchange gifts, play games, and donate to charity. In addition, the festivities often feature special foods fried in oil, such as sufganiyot (jam or custard doughnuts) and latkes (fried potato pancakes).

To all those celebrating over the next week, British Online Archives would like to wish you a very happy Hanukkah! Chag sameach!

Authored by British Online Archives

British Online Archives

British Online Archives provides unique collections of primary source documents for students and researchers studying the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Share this article

Notable Days


The British Online Archives Notable Days diary is a platform intended to mark key dates and events throughout the year. The posts draw attention to historical events and figures, as well as recurring cultural traditions and international awareness days, in both religious and secular contexts.

Get Social

Back to Top