The oil was there, but it was tainted.
Cask over cask of olive oil was found — and found unfit for the menorah in the Temple of Jerusalem. Finally, the Maccabees discovered a pristine vat of purified oil — enough to last a day, perhaps a few hours more.
Processing new oil would take about a week. The Jews lit the seven-branched candelabrum and set to producing purified oil. After a day, the closely watched flames did not fade or falter. A few hours later, they were still burning, and continued to burn until the new oil was ready.
The oil for one day had lasted eight. In reminiscence, the chanukiah has eight candles for the eight days of Hanukkah:
›› The chanukiah, lit on many a windowsill and in your email, spreads Hanukkah cheer. (IncrediMail)