It is that time once again for us to remember family and friends as we are about to usher out the year of 2008 and bring in a new year. With this in mind and looking for some fun, uplifting things to write about in the waning days of 2008 I thought it might be a good idea to take a look at some holiday patents to try and help get us in the spirit of things. While it is certainly true that there are not many US patents that refer to Hanukkah, or Chanukah as it is sometimes spelt, in the title that did not deter me from giving an effort.
Hanukkah is an eight-night celebration, which this year began at sundown on Sunday, December 21, which coincidentally is the shortest day of the year. So for those of you looking for the silver lining just know the shortest day of the year is already behind us, although I suspect we are going to be in for some cold between now and when it gets better. After all, any year where there is snow in both Las Vegas and New Orleans has got to go down as one of the all-time coldest years, right? But I digress.
In 175 BCE, Antiochus IV Epiphanes became the leader of Syria, which governed the Jewish territory of Israel or Judea. Antiochus began persecuting the Jews throughout his reign. Ultimately, the Temple in Jerusalem was sacked and in 167 BCE an altar to Zeus was built in the Temple. A Jewish priest named Mattathias and his five sons, including Judah Maccabee, led a revolt against Antiochus and successfully rededicate the Temple to the Hebrew God.
The Maccabees reclaimed the Holy Temple and removed the Greek idols and symbols that had been placed there. However, they found that the Greco-Syranians had defiled the oil that was needed to burn the Temple’s menorah, which was supposed to burn without interruption. There was only enough oil for one day, but the oil miraculously burned for eight days and eight nights, at which time more purified oil was once again available. In celebration of this victory and miracle the Jews celebrate Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, for eight days and eight nights.
As for the Hanukkah patents I found, the most recent utility patent, US Patent No. 6,491,516, issued on December 10, 2002 for an Active hanukkah Candelabrum.
This invention relates to a responsive device for use with a Hanukkiah which can receive removable candles and is made up of at least one sensor, arranged to respond to a portion of energy emitted by a flame of at least one lighted candle on a Hanukkiah, for supplying a sensor output, an output device coupled to the sensor output. Among other things, the purpose of this invention is to provide an active Hanukkiah comprising audible, motional and/or light output, for entertaining users through the sense of sound and sight, as well as providing a Hanukkiah for complementing the candle lighting ceremony by automatically supplying the closing song of Maoz Tzur as the shamash is traditionally placed in its holder, and for providing the correct lyrics of songs and assist the gatherings in pacing their singing.