What is it
Hanukkah as a whole is a commemoration of the rebellion against there Greek and Syrian rulers. Each night during the celebration family's light a candle on a set called the menorah. There are 8 candles that represent creation and knowledge. Even though presents are not traditionally given out family's tend to exchange gifts each night.
The land of Israel called Judea was under control of Antiochus III, he gave the Jewish people lots of religious freedom and let them practice there religion. This was taking place around 200 B.C.
When the Kings son took power he was not as friendly to the Jews. Antiochus IV outlawed the Jewish religion and its practices. He also made his soldiers go into the second holy temple and destroying all the sculptress and artwork. He put up an altar of Zeus, the head of the Greek gods, and they also sacrificed pigs in the temple.
The Jewish people were so mad at this king that they rebelled under a man named Mathathias who was a priest. It took 2 years for the Jews to drive the Syrians out of Jerusalem. After they drove them out they the Jews decided to cleanse by rebuilding its altar and lighting the menorah. The menorah originally was meant to burn every night and since they were low on oil because of the rebellion they only had enough to keep it lit for a day but the flames stayed burning for 8 nights until they could get more oil.