Hanukkah (Hebrew: חֲנֻכָּה, Tiberian: Ḥănukkāh, usually spelled חנוכה, pronounced in Modern Hebrew; a transliteration also romanized as Chanukah, Chanukkah or Chanuka), also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar.
The festival is observed by the kindling of the lights of a unique candelabrum, the nine-branched Menorah or Hanukiah, one additional light on each night of the holiday, progressing to eight on the final night. The typical Menorah consists of eight branches with an additional raised branch. The extra light is called a shamash (Hebrew: שמש, "attendant") and is given a distinct location, usually above or below the rest. The purpose of the shamash is to have a light available for use, as using the Hanukkah lights themselves is forbidden.
Read more about Hanukkah: Etymology, Hanukkah Rituals, Symbolic Importance, Hanukkah Music, Hanukkah Foods, Dreidel, Hanukkah Gelt, Judith and Holofernes, Alternative Spellings, Historic Timeline, Dates, Hanukkah in The White House, Green Hanukkah