A depiction of a Maccabee's shield and two spears. The shield is adorned by a lion and text reading "Yisrael" (Israel) in the Paleo-Hebrew alphabet. "Maccabee" also appears in English. The Maccabees were Jewish rebels who freed Judea from the yoke of the Seleucid Empire. Chanukkah is not just a mid-winter festival featuring candles and fried delicacies. it celebrates a military victory, and securing religious freedom, over the Seleucid Empire. Additionally, the revlt was a civil war involving those Jews who were loyal to G-d and those who had adopted the Hellenism of the Seleucids.