145  Hanukkah (or Chanukah) for 2004, 041207 – 041215  Delivered: 041207, Modified/Posted: 041208
American calendars often mark ritual days for some religions.  We first mentioned this when we talked about Ramadan (our Letter#139). We believed that American calendars pick up some rites of some religions, whose adherers are quite a few compared to the US pop.  In the US, Judaism is the second largest religion and the adult pop in the US is 2.8+ Million (as of 2001).  So there are many Americans who observe Hanukkah.  That's why the calendars mark Hanukkah. Note: For the US, the top five religions are Christianity, Nonreligious/Secular, Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism according to the site < http://www.adherents.com/rel_USA.html#religions  >

Most Americans usually know only that Hanukkah is a Jewish festival. But we think that a few know what it is.*

* How much typical Americans know about “Hanukkah”?

Question from a Japanese:
How much do you think a typical American knows about Hanukkah?  Please let me know what  you think when you get a chance. Thanks. “

Answer from an American
I never heard of Chanukah but have heard of Hanukkah**. I know it is a Jewish rite and I have heard a few things about it, but I actually can't remember any of it other than it is a Jewish celebration that is around Christmas time and that it lasts several days (is it 9 or 12?) That's about all I can remember right now. I'm sure if I read about it I would remember that I knew other things about it as well.”

** Hanukkah and Chanukah are commonly used.  It looks like Hanukkah is more often spoken.

Answer from another American
”Most have heard of it.  I know it is a Jewish celebration.  I thought it was the ‘Festival of Lights+’, but I may be mixing that up with another holiday.

That is all I know about it.  It is pretty sad that I am so ignorant on Jewish holidays, especially since Judaism and Christianity share roots.

I suspect many or most Americans are like me regarding Hanukkah -- they know little about it.”

‘Festival of Lights’ = Hanukkah < http://www.myjewishlearning.com/holidays/Hanukkah.htm?OVRAW=festivl%20of%20lights&OVKEY=festival%20of%20light&OVMTC=standard >

Ummm… If you are still curious about Hanukkah, and you wanna know more about Hanukkah than typical Americans, here is a brief story of Hanukkah (which you may not have to know since even typical Americans don’t know).

What is Hanukkah?

Hanukkah lasts eight days; for 2004, it begins at sundown on December 7, 2004 and ends on December15, 2004.  This is a Jewish rite to celebrate their victory over the Hellenist Syrians in 165 B.C.  Once they defeated the Greek King army of Syria, they started worshipping their religion again at the temple, which indicated their dedications to their religion (see Note).  They tried to hold a dedication ceremony, but a menorah (sort of candelabrum) 1) had enough oil to last only one day.  However, a miracle happened in the temple.  The oil kept the menorah lit for the eight nights.  Therefore, Jews observe Hanukkah for eight days by lighting candles in a menorah every night (one candle per night), which commemorates the eight-day miracle.  See reference sites for the menorah and the detail of Hanukkah.
Note: Hanukkah means “Dedication” in Hebrew 2).

(1)Menorah < http://www.historychannel.com/exhibits/holidays/hanukkah/traditions.html#menorah >
(2)History of Hanukkah

< http://www.historychannel.com/exhibits/holidays/hanukkah/index.html >
(3) Mount Zion Temple, St. Paul < http://www.mzion.org/index.cfm >
(4) Synagogues, Shuls and Temples < http://www.jewfaq.org/shul.htm  >


in Japanese
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