[hah-nuh-kuh; Ashkenazic Hebrew khah-nuh-kuh; Sephardic Hebrew khah-noo-kah]


a Jewish festival lasting eight days, celebrated from the 25th day of the month of Kislev to the 2nd of Tevet in commemoration of the rededication of the Temple by the Maccabees following their victory over the Syrians under Antiochus IV, characterized chiefly by the lighting of the menorah on each night of the festival.

Also Chanukah.

Origin of Hanukkah

First recorded in 1890–95, Hanukkah is from the Hebrew word ḥănukkāh literally, a dedicating

Also called Feast of Dedication, Feast of Lights.

Feast of Dedication


Also called Feast of Lights.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for feast of lights

Feast of Lights


Judaism an English name for Hanukkah

Feast of Dedication


Judaism a literal translation of Chanukah


Hanukah or Chanukah


the eight-day Jewish festival of lights beginning on the 25th of Kislev and commemorating the rededication of the temple by Judas Maccabaeus in 165 bcAlso called: Feast of Dedication, Feast of Lights

Word Origin for Hanukkah

from Hebrew, literally: a dedication

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for feast of lights


see Chanukah.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for feast of lights


[(khah-nuh-kuh, hah-nuh-kuh)]

A festival in Judaism that occurs each December. Hanukkah commemorates the victory of the Jews (see also Jews) in the second century b.c. over the Syrians, who had occupied their country, and the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem (see also Jerusalem) (hanukkah is Hebrew for “dedication”). Observers of Hanukkah light one candle in a candleholder called a menorah each night for eight nights in memory of a legend that, when the Temple was rededicated, its lamps burned, without enough oil, miraculously for a week.


Hanukkah was formerly one of the less important Jewish festivals, but today it is celebrated by Jews in many parts of the world — especially the United States, where it overlaps with the celebration of Christmas.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.