The story behind Hanukkah is one of a miracle. This miracle occurred a few thousand years ago during old testament times around 165 B.C.E. During this time the Jewish lived in Israel and had just won a revolt against the Syrians allowing them complete autonomy.
During the battle the temple in Jerusalem was looted but it was still intact, unfortunately they found that there wasn’t enough oil to keep their Menorah lit.
The Menorah is a candelabrum with seven branches to hold candles or with a well filled with olive oil. Some say it symbolizes the burning bush Moses saw on Mount Sinai. In the temple of Jerusalem the Menorah was supposed to be kept lit twenty four hours a day, but there was only enough oil to keep it lit for one day and it was going to take them eight days to make more oil.
Nevertheless, the Jews lit the Menorah with what oil they had and worked on making more olive oil. Miraculously the Menorah stayed lit for the full eight days. Now Hanukkah is an eight day celebration of this miracle filled with nightly ceremonies, gift giving and the lighting of a new candle each day.
Many families with both Christian and Jewish parents celebrate a blended holiday termed, ‘Chrismukkah.’