Also known as "Lights" and "Dedication". We remember how Judah the Maccabee and his small army wrestled Jerusalem and the temple from the greater Greek armies. We celebrate by playing dradel games, eating latkes (potato pancakes fried in olive oil), lighting the Hanukia (nine candle menorah) every evening for eight days, and singing songs of victory pertaining to the miracles of G-d for our people.
After the temple was recovered, the temple menorah was lit. It was never to be extinguished but there was only enough oil to last one day. It took eight days to obtain more oil. When they returned with the oil, to their surprise, the lamp was still burning. We light candles in our Hanukia menorah for eight nights to remember this miracle. The candle which stands higher on the menorah is called the shamish (servant). It is used to light the other candles during Chanukah. The first night of Chanukah we light the servant and use it to light one other candle. The second night the shamish and two other candles are lit, etc. etc., until on the eighth night all nine candles (including the Shamish) are lit.
A dradel is top shaped like a cube rounded or pointed on the bottom. Each of the four sides has a Hebrew letter, nun, gimmel, hey, and shin. Although originally these represented gambling terms, they have been reinterpreted to mean "A great miracle happened here".
In a messianic context, the menorah pictures for us how Yeshua (the Shamish or Servant) kindles the light in the hearts of believers. As time passes, more and more of us have his light within us, until at last all of us are lit.
Although Hanukkah is not commanded in the Torah, we observe it here at ZION because it is the feast of dedication. If Judah the Maccabee had not recovered the temple and Jerusalem during the Hellenistic period just prior to the coming of Messiah Yeshua, there would have been no place for Him to be dedicated. Also Yeshua himself was observant and kept this feast in Jerusalem. (John 10:22)
In recent times, Chanukah has become a way to lessen the pressure of the Christmas holidays for our children. While Christmas is traditionally celebrated only one day, we celebrate Chanukah for eight days. Most of our families give their children or grandchildren a gift every evening of Chanukah.
The most important reasons to celebrate Chanukah is because it remembers the miracles of G-d in a wholesome and righteous way, and we are practicing traditions which are unique to us as Jews. This continues the concept that G-d chose us and gave us the commandments for the purpose of separating us from the other nations of the world.