Holidays in the Jewish Religion

In the Jewish religion there are a lot of minor and major holidays that have a special representation of the history of their religion like the celebration of Hanukah, Yom Kipper, and the Passover. In the major Holiday of Hanukah or the festival of lights it is Christmas for the jews and is usually celebrated in and eight day period and celebrated the rededication of the temple of Jerusalem. The king of the Seleucid empire King Antiochus destroyed the temple and killed and captured Jews for practicing their religion.

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He wanted everything to be Hellenistic which means all Greek but a military leader named Judah Maccabee the son of Mattathias led a revolt against the King and defeated the Seleucids in several battles until Judah conquered all of Judea and they were able to capture the temple of Jerusalem but the temple was full of pagan shrines and idols and was dirty and not holy so they cleaned it back to worship and praise their God which was said to be an eight day celebration that is why Hanukah is celebrated 8 days. Later Rabbinic traditions describe the length of the festival from the small amount of oil that burned for eight days straight before going out. This is very different from Christianity view of Christmas as they celebrate it as the birth of Jesus which only last one day.

The next major Holiday which is considered to be the most sacred and widely observed holiday is the Passover or pesach in Hebrew. The Passover represents the exodus movement and the Israelites departure from Egypt. The Jews celebrate this week’s long festival with many important rituals. The Passover meal is considered to be very special known as Seder and it is the removal of leavened products from the home and the substitution of Matzo bread and mainly the retelling of the Exodus movement lead by Moses and the reason that those of the Jewish religion remove the leavened bread out of their homes and use the flat bread is because when the Israelites fled Egypt so fast there was no time for their bread to rise or because matzo was easier to carry through the dessert.

The last Major Holiday is the called the Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement and it is considered the most solemn day on the Jewish calendar. This is the day that God seals the book of life and death for the coming year so this day is devoted to repentance of all sins committed over the course of the previous year to clean yourself of all sin. This is also the day to part with all of the hustle of the outside world and focus on your heart and mind to devote yourself with a relationship with God. Jews usually fast on the day of Atonement to show devotion as well as refraining from washing, sexual activity, and wearing of leather because it is considered a luxury item. It is also traditional for them to dress in all white to show a sign of purity and most wear sneakers and athletic shoes. By the time of the Second Temple Yom Kippur important as a day of mourning and abstention and only during the Rabbinic Period as the most important day on the Jewish calendar and is still practiced today.

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