It began sunset yesterday, but I’m mentioning it today now that the whole world has experienced the necessary sunset.
It has a lot of different transliterations; I’ve seen it also spelled Chanukah. Why the different transliterations? I have the answer.
The “ch” or “h” at the beginning is actually the representation of a consonant foreign to English. That consonant is called a voiceless uvular fricative, and the symbol for it in the International Phonetic Alphabet is the Greek letter Chi: χ. Put simply, that means it is a sound (technically called a phoneme) that obstructs airflow from the lungs (it’s a consonant), without the vocal cords vibrating in any way (voiceless) articulated at the uvula (uvular) producing audible friction (fricative).