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When did Chanukah become an official Jewish holiday?

When did Chanukah become an official Jewish holiday?

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Question:

When did Chanukah become an official Jewish holiday? I know that the Holy Temple was reclaimed by the Maccabees in 139 BCE, but when did Jews start kindling Chanukah lights, eating latkes and playing dreidel?

Answer:

When the miracle of the oil occurred in 139 BCE, the Jews celebrated. The rabbis then proclaimed that these eight days should become an annual holiday on the Jewish calendar. So on the next year, 138 BCE, Chanukah was celebrated for the first time—complete with the lighting of the Chanukah Menorah.

As for eating latkes and playing dreidel, it's less clear when these traditions began. But both these customs are certainly many centuries old, and have become venerated customs practiced by Jews worldwide.

Chaya Sarah Silberberg,
Chabad.org

Chaya Sarah Silberberg serves as the rebbetzin of the Bais Chabad Torah Center in West Bloomfield, Michigan, since 1975. She also counsels, lectures, writes, and responds for Chabad.org’s Ask the Rabbi service.
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Discussion (2)
December 5, 2013
Miracle of the oil
Where is the scriptural support for the assertion of the "miracle of the oil"?
Sanford Silverburg
Salisbury, NC
December 16, 2009
As for eating latkes
As much I could find out, "LATKES" are made of Potatoes. These were brought back for the first time by Columbus from the new found India,
so he thought.
Reinier Verly
Valkenswaard, Netherlands
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