By Torrance Grey on March 10, 2018
The Jewish festival of lights, or Hanukkah, is celebrated annually in honor of the liberation of the Jews from the oppression of the Seleucid Empire. The practice of Jewish religion had been banned, and the imperial army took Jerusalem and burned the Second Temple. This was an especially grievous crime as the temple religion was at the time essential to the faith, with a number of Biblical laws being framed such that you cannot observe them unless the temple is standing. The invaders, in destroying the temple, also obliterated a holy lamp that was never to be allowed to go out. After the heroic uprising, the lamp was re-lit, but the special olive oil that was used to burn for the light was in short supply - and there was only enough to burn for one day. It would take eight days to press more oil. The miracle of Hanukkah is that this minimal supply of oil somehow burned for the full eight days, lighting hope again in the people that they would be able to freely practice their religion once more.
In America, Hanukkah has been elevated in the popular culture to a higher status than it enjoys elsewhere, as a way of matching the position of Christmas. Even so, while it's not one of the most important festivals, it is one of the most fun, and most familiar to non-Jews. So whether you're a member of the chosen people or not, let's see how well you know it!