Chanukah is the Jewish festival of Lights, occurring around December time, at the darkest time of the year in the northern hemisphere. It commemorates the time around 2500 years ago, when Antiochus, a Syrian king, tried to make the Jewish people worship Greek gods. A statue of Antiochus was erected in the Jewish temple and the Jews were ordered to bow down before him. A small group of Jews called Maccabees rebelled, and after a three year war they recaptured Jerusalem from the Syrians. But the temple was all but destroyed. The Maccabees had to clean and repair the Temple, and when they were finished they rededicated it to G-d. They did this by lighting the lamp (Menorah or Chanukiah) – which was a symbol of G-d’s presence. Only one small jar of oil was found, enough for one day, but miraculously the lamp stayed alight for eight days, until more oil could be brought in. Today, Chanukah is celebrated by eating oily foods, such as potato latkes and doughnuts, to commemorate the miracle, giving of presents, playing the dreidel game (a spinning top) and lighting one extra candle each night on the nine-branched Chanukiah, for each of the eight days of Chanukah (plus one candle to serve as lighter for the other candles). Bluewhite has an extensive range of Safed Chanukah candles, beautiful Chanukiot, made from wood, aluminium, glass and Jerusalem stone, and gifts for all the family.

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