It is interesting to note that when most people think of artificial festivals around the December time of year, many people will declare that Christmas has become fantastically commercialized, and is no longer about the birth of Jesus. What many people do not know is that the focus of Hanukah was artificially changed over two centuries ago. In the year 1200 BCE, the Children of Israel wander the desert and eventually enter the land of Israel, conquering the local Canaanite tribes and eventually building the Bet Ha Migdash (temple). They were then subsequently conquered by the Babylonians, who destroyed the Temple. 70 years later, the Temple was rebuilt, after the Babylonians were themselves conquered by the Assyrians. The Assyrians were then themselves conquered by Alexander the Great’s Greek army. The Jews made an insurgency against the Greeks, led by a family of Cohenim from Modi’in, the Maccabees, of the Hasmonean dynasty. They were victorious, and Hanukah was inaugurated as a memorial festival, giving thanks to G-d for their victory. The later Hasmoneans were not such holy people, though. The later generations of Hasmoneans erroneously proclaimed one of their number Cohen Ha Gadol (High Priest of the Temple), and inaugurated the first, last and only instance of forced conversion to Judaism. The third generation yielded two heirs, Hyrcanus and Aristobulus. They argued over which of them should be the ruler. In the end they decided to let an external arbiter decide who had the better claim, and appealed to the local power broker to decide for them. Unfortunately, the local power broker was a Roman Legate, who brought his Legion in to Israel and, instead of choosing who should rule, conquered the Land instead. A period of time later, and the chief sages of the day, amongst them Yehudah Ha Nassi (Judah the prince) decided that, perhaps, the Hasmoneans weren’t such great guys after all, and decided to put the focus of Hanukah onto G-d, and take it away from the Hasmoneans themselves. The elaborate story of the Oil in the temple burning for eight nights as a miracle of G-d was invented at this point. From this miracle, we get the tradition of Hanukah being 8 days long, the lighting of the Chanukiah, the Chanukiah itself (as distinct from the Menorah) and the eating of oily food, such as potato pancakes and doughnuts. Hey Presto, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Worlds First Artificial Festival!