Hanukkah is an important Jewish holiday which is celebrated around the world. But not everyone is aware of how many days Hanukkah traditionally lasts. So, how long is the Festival of Lights?
The Story of Hanukkah
To commemorate this dramatic victory, an eight day festival of lights known as Hanukkah began. The word Hanukkah is derived from the Hebrew words ḥă·nuk·kāh, which literally mean “rededication”. During the Hanukkah festival, it is traditionally customary to light a nine-branched menorah, known as a ḥanukẖiah.
The 8 Days of Hanukkah
The Festival of Lights lasts for eight days and nights, which are known in Hebrew as nèsiḥim. On the first day an extra candle (the shamash) is lit a little apart from the others. This candle is generally used to light the other eight candles, one by one each day of the holiday.
There is a common misconception that Hanukkah is a weeklong celebration, however, it really consists of eight days and nights of special activities and rituals including lighting the Hanukiyah, eating traditional foods such as latkes, and exchanging gifts.
How to Celebrate Hanukkah
The Lighting of the Hanukiyah
The most important part of the Hanukkah celebration is lighting the Hanukiyah. Every night for eight nights, a family gathers together to light the nine-branched candelabra. They use the extra candle- the shamash- to light each of the other eight. Traditionally, the leader recites a special prayer and the candles are lit from left to right.
On the first day of Hanukkah (or for any night of Hanukkah afterwards, as you please), families often exchange gifts. This is a great way to express thanks and appreciation for the people in our lives and also a way to extend the joy and happiness of Hanukkah.
No Hanukkah celebration would be complete without enjoying some delicious traditional Hanukkah favorites! Latkes, jelly donuts, and sufganiyot are always a hit. Traditional Hanukkah dishes can vary from culture to culture depending where the family is from, but these staples are almost always present.
Hanukkah is an important and beloved Jewish holiday which spans eight days and nights. Each day of the holiday has its own special activity or ritual such as lighting the Hanukiyah, exchanging gifts, or enjoying traditional food. Celebrated for centuries, Hanukkah has become an important holiday for Jewish people around the world.
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Last update 2023-11-22. Price and product availability may change.