Contact Us

When did Chanukah become an official Jewish holiday?

When did Chanukah become an official Jewish holiday?

 Email

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.
© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with Chabad.org's copyright policy.
 Email
Join the Discussion
Sort By:
5 Comments
1000 characters remaining
bob December 20, 2016

where was Hanukkah originated Reply

Fred austin Tx December 17, 2015

where did it start Reply

Murrell Selden Oak Park October 8, 2015

When was the first Hanukkah? It was somewhat after the life of Greek King Antiochus Epiphanes IV.

He died in 164 B.C.E.

Hanukkah was in 162 B,C,E, (after they cleaned up the temple and came back from Egypt at a temporary temple). Reply

Sanford Silverburg Salisbury, NC December 5, 2013

Miracle of the oil Where is the scriptural support for the assertion of the "miracle of the oil"? Reply

Reinier Verly Valkenswaard, Netherlands 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. Reply

Related Topics