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Florence will never fail to impress
Hanukkah, Jewish festival
Florence and Florentines...they will never fail to impress any kind of visitors from anywhere, after admiring their art and churches, you will be in need for some oxygen, you will be surprised, how things haven't been changed a lot since the days of Medici, where aperitivo time was Must and Florentines were flirting and enjoying life. Florence is the modern regional capital of Tuscany, but before that for a very short period, it was the capital of Italy, back in 1865, it was just what it needed, a shot of adrenaline, they washed it off, wiped out whole quarters and tore down the medieval walls, in few words, the city was literally bulldozed!
Florence has always been a jewel of Renaissance Italy, it still remains, they went through tough times, increasingly ignored on the European stage, they never ever forget proud heritage and knew the pearls they have, and only believing in them. Florentines were smart enough and invented the florin, which was one of the most successful currencies in history, they survived and turned into a pearl of Italy, attracting people from all over the world, they have always knew how to make money, they did it back then and continue to do that nowadays.
Florence is also full of Jewish history, even if their community is pretty small, but powerful enough to be celebrated pretty big and its history is everywhere, in doors of the Baptistery, the Duomo and Michelangelo's David, they have their own Jewish museum, the Renaissance Jewish neighborhood, and Piazza della Reppublica, where the city’s ghetto once stood. During December they have a huge celebration, Hanukkah in Florence. It’s annually celebrated in the Jewish area of Florence, which by the way was the first segregated Jewish community in Europe.
Although many of us think, that this is some kind of Jewish Christmas celebration, well it's not, first of all their Christmas is much older than ours, and Hanukkah is totally different celebration, it's a Jewish festival of lights, the goal is to light the eight Chanukah candles during the eight days of the festival. Hanukkah is about God's protection of the Israelites, and the miracles that happened, Jewish celebrate the triumph of faith and courage over military might, when a band of Israelites stood up for their right to be Jewish. It's about oil lamp, it took 8 days for them to press , so they had just one day to supply of oil. So what they did, decided to light the flame anyway, in faith, and the miracle happened.
The legend tells that the jug of oil refilled itself every day with enough oil to relight the Temple's great menorah, and this continued for 7 days. Since that , Hanukkah is celebrated for 8 days to remember and than the miracles, but the real miracle of Hanukkah is the great victory of the Maccabees against the most powerful army in the world. If you are in Florence that time, visit Synagogue, near by Santa Croce, and take a part of lightening of the Menorah, with Hanukkah festivities and lots of food.
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