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


  1. 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.


/ xanuˈka; ˈhɑːnəkə; -nʊˌkɑː /


  1. 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 bc Also calledFeast of DedicationFeast of Lights


  1. 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.

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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 .

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Word History and Origins

Origin of Hanukkah1

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

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Word History and Origins

Origin of Hanukkah1

from Hebrew, literally: a dedication

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Example Sentences

In a video viewed by the Phoenix New Times before it was deleted, Gionet showed himself tearing down a “Happy Hanukkah” sign on a menorah in front of the state capitol.

The Christmas in July tradition continues to thrive at Keystone Camp, where the celebration has evolved to also honor several year-end holidays, including Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.

From Vox

It just so happened to be the first night of Hanukkah, and Topper, who is Jewish, told Currey why his act of kindness was particularly meaningful to her that day.

Well, it’s time for the Ceremonial Singeing of My Hair — happy Hanukkah, everyone.

This week, thinking about the absence of my parents at Hanukkah, I wondered if there was more evidence.

Back in December, and just in time for Hanukkah, J.K. Rowling revealed via Twitter that there were Jewish wizards at Hogwarts.

Deck your halls instead with boughs of holly, shouting “Merry Christmas” (or “Happy Hanukkah”) well into the night.

To celebrate Hanukkah, Sam curated eight of his favorite looks for The Daily Beast.

Hanukkah is the celebration of a Jewish military victory in the second century BCE.

Especially if the holiday shopping season is front-loaded because Hanukkah falls in November rather than December.

The story is immortalized in the second name "Feast of Lights," given to the Hanukkah festival.


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How Do You Spell Hanukkah?

Spelling tips for Hanukkah

It can be difficult to remember how to spell the word Hanukkah because it has many valid spellings. It is a transliteration, meaning that it’s transcribed from a different alphabet (in this case, Hebrew).

How to spell Hanukkah: By far, the most commonly used spelling is Hanukkah—with one n and two k’s. The spelling Chanukah is also somewhat commonly used. But there are also several other spellings that are considered valid, including Chanoukah and Hannukah.

More About Hanukkah

What is Hanukkah?

Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish festival that commemorates the rededication of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem in the 2nd century b.c.e. It usually occurs in December but can also happen in late November and can extend into January.

It can also be spelled Chanukah. It is sometimes called the Feast of Dedication—the word Hanukkah is commonly interpreted as meaning “a dedication” in Hebrew.

More commonly, it’s referred to as the Festival of Lights (or Feast of Lights). That’s because Hanukkah is observed with the lighting of a multi-branched candelabrum called the menorah (or hanukiah or chanukiah). When it has nine candles, one of them is a “starter” (technically called the shammes) that’s used to light the other eight candles. One candle is lit on each subsequent evening of the celebration, until all are lit. Special prayers may be said during the lighting of each candle or at different times of each day.

The tradition of lighting the menorah during Hanukkah is done to commemorate the story of a miracle. According to the story, when the Temple was rededicated, its lamps burned miraculously for a week, even though there was not enough oil to fuel them.

The rededication of the Temple occurred after Judea was liberated from Syrian occupation by the Maccabees, a family of Jews led by Judas Maccabaeus. They defeated the Syrians under Antiochus IV around 165 b.c.e.

Common ways of celebrating Hanukkah include giving gifts to children and loved ones, having family dinners, and eating special foods like latkes. Children sometimes play games with a traditional toy called a dreidel, a kind of four-sided top.

Example: I love spending Hanukkah with my family and lighting the menorah each night!

When is Hanukkah?

The timing of Hanukkah is based on the Jewish calendar and varies from year to year. It is celebrated on the 25th day of the month of Kislev to the 2nd of Tevet. This most often corresponds to an eight-day period in December.

In 2023, Hanukkah will begin on the evening of December 7 and end on the evening of December 15. In 2024, Hanukkah will begin on the evening of December 25 and end on the evening of January 2, 2025.

Where does Hanukkah come from?

Various spellings of the word Hanukkah have been used in English since at least the 1600s. It comes from the Hebrew word ḥănukkāh, which is thought to mean “a dedicating” or “a dedication.”

Hanukkah is thousands of years old, but it’s not one of the holidays mentioned in the canonical Jewish scriptures (the events it commemorates occurred after the writing of the Torah). Instead, it is based on rabbinic tradition. In the context of the Jewish religion, it is not considered one of the most important Jewish holy days. However, it is now celebrated by Jews all over the world, and it is especially popular among Jews in the United States. Hanukkah is also one of the most well-known Jewish holidays among people who are not Jewish, especially due to the fact that it often falls around the Christian holiday of Christmas, making it part of the “holiday season,” especially in the U.S.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to Hanukkah?

What are some synonyms for Hanukkah?

What are some words that share a root or word element with Hanukkah

What are some words that often get used in discussing Hanukkah?

How is Hanukkah used in real life?

Hanukkah is a time of celebration for Jews and is well-known even among people who are not Jewish.

Try using Hanukkah!

True or False? 

Hanukkah always takes place on the same eight days in December.

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