Lighting up flames of dedication

Vaughan celebrates Hanukkah with menorah-lighting ceremony

Menorah Lighting Poster 2015-11x17

Did you know that the tradition of Hanukkah dates back to thousands of years ago?

When we think of Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, we think of the  holiday’s celebratory foods, games and gifts. But most importantly, we think of the lighting of the menorah – where one candle is lit by the centre candle known as the Shamash for each of the eight nights of Hanukkah.

When did this tradition come to be?

It was around 200 B.C. when Jewish people lived under foreign rule. They were allowed to practice their religion and customs until 175 B.C. when Antiochus IV ascended the Syrian throne from his father Antiochus III. He outlawed Judaism and forced Jewish people to worship Greek gods and desecrated the holy Second Temple by placing a figure of Zeus and sacrificing pigs.

Mattathias Maccabee and his five sons decided to take a stand against Antiochus IV. They were successful, driving Amtiocus’s army out of Jerusalem. It was Mattathias’ son Judah Maccabee who led the warfare, recaptured Jerusalem and liberated the holy Second Temple.

A flame was lit above the arc in the temple as part of its rededication, but they only had enough oil to burn one night’s flame.  Miraculously, the flame burned for eight nights until new holy oil had been prepared. This event inspired those of Jewish faith to commence an annual eight-day festival known as Hanukkah – which translates to “dedication” in Hebrew.

There are many other interpretations of Hanukkah’s origins, but they all symbolize the dedication of the Jewish faith in history.

To celebrate the Jewish tradition, a special menorah-lighting ceremony will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 9 at 3:30 p.m. at City Hall. Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua and Members of Council invite you to join in and witness the lighting of four candles to mark the fourth night of Hanukkah.

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