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A. Chanukah is an eight-day festival beginning on the 25th of Kislev and lasting through the 2nd of Tevet, the third and fourth months of the Jewish calendar. As with other festivals in the cycle of the Jewish year, there seems to be a dual origin to Chanukah — seasonal and historical, according to the Jewish Catalog. The historical story is quite well known. Judah the Maccabee lead a successful revolt against the Hellenistic Syrians, who occupied the land of Israel around 165 B.C.E. There is a miracle associated with this victory. Some say that when the Temple was to be rededicated, only one cruse of sacramental oil was found. Although this was supposed to burn for only one day, it miraculously lasted for eight full days, during which time other oil was prepared. Others maintain that the victory in itself constitutes the miracle. Some scholars argue that Chanukah is related to Sukkot, which included the carrying of wands wreathed with leaves, branches with their fruit and palm fronds. Whether Chanukah draws its source from the historic, the seasonal, or, as is most likely, from some combination of the two, it is clear that the central motif is light. The only special mitzvah related to the holiday is to kindle the lights each night.
Source: Rabbi David Davis
— Taylor Bruce