For most of its history, Hanukkah has been a rather minor holiday. But in the late 19th century it began to gain popularity and today it is one of the most celebrated Jewish holidays (neck-and-neck with Passover, according to one source).
This change seems to be due in part to the increasing popularity of Christmas gift-giving in the late 19th century, and the corresponding wish to offer an alternative, especially for children, that maintains Jewish identity and avoids assimilation. In addition, the Zionist movement, which arose in the late 19th century, found inspiration in the story of the Maccabees.
source: Religion Facts
Comment: Something often overlooked here: there is no mention of Hanukkah in the so-called “Hebrew Bible”, otherwise known as the “Masoretic Text” which the Fathers of the Church, such as Saint Justin Martyr, denounced as a forgery and a deliberate attempt to eliminate too explicit references to Christ in the Old Testament. The events commemorated on Hanukkah are, however, present in the only authentic text of the Old Testament, the Septuagint and, of course, the Phariseic (aka “rabbinical”) oral tradition of the Mishna and the Talmud. It is quite ironic that the Pharisees (aka “rabbis”) had to resort to the exploitation of a historical event which is only mentioned in the very text they attempted to falsify, is it not?
Bottom line: while the events upon which this festival is based are real, its interpretation and exploitation have no basis in the faith of the Jews of the Old Testament. In fact, in most of history, Hanukkah was celebrated as a minor holiday, mostly by rabbis.
Nowadays, this “re-heated” festival is just a rather obvious “Jewish Christmas” with presents and songs, and one wonderful opportunity to make politicians show their obligatory subservience to the Israel Lobby.