Both Christmas and Hanukah are celebrated close to each other in December and that causes a lot of confusion. Many folks figure that Hanukah is just another name for Christmas or is closely related to it. Not true. Both these festivals are completely different and are observed for different, unrelated reasons. Here are their differences:
Hannukah is a Jewish festival. Christmas is a Christian festival.
Christmas is a combination of the words “Christ” and “Mass.” Hanukkah means “dedication,” but it is called the festival of lights.
Christmas commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ. It is celebrated on 25 December, a day that is exactly 9 months from the date on which Jesus was conceived according to Christian beliefs. December 25 is also the date of the Roman Winter Solstice. Hanukkah celebrates the victory of the Jews over the Greek Seleucid Empire, which prevented the Jews from practicing Judaism. A small force of Jewish soldiers led by Yehudah ha-Makkabi surprisingly defeated a very large Greek army. The festival commemorates the rededication of the holy temple of Jerusalem.
Hanukkah is celebrated for 8 days in December. Christmas celebrations are restricted to just 1 day.
Hanukkah is a minor festival, Christmas is a major festival.
Hanukkah is also termed as Channukah. Christmas is just Christmas.
Christmas involves gift-giving. Gifts are not required to be given on Hanukkah, though the trend is catching on.
Christmas is celebrated by exchanging gifts, giving cards, church celebrations, keeping Christmas trees, decorating homes, throwing parties, and more. Hanukkah is celebrated by lighting a Menorah, which is a candle holder that has nine branches. Every day, one candle is lit, and a total of 8 candles are lit with the 8th candle being lit on the concluding (8th) day of the festival.
Santa Claus or Saint Nicholas is associated with Christmas but not with Hanukkah.
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