Hanukkah is an eight day Jewish holiday that commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. The celebration begins on the 25th day of Kislev on the Jewish calendar and usually occurs from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar. Commonly referred to as the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah is celebrated by lighting the menorah, singing songs, exchanging gifts, and eating traditional foods. But how many days of celebration are there during Hanukkah?
Hanukkah is an eight day festival that begins on the 25th day of Kislev on the Jewish calendar. Jews all over the world observe this holiday by lighting the Menorah, playing games, eating traditional foods, and exchanging gifts. Every day of the eight day festivity is marked by joy and hope, which is why it is commonly known as the Festival of Lights.
The Story of Hanukkah
The word Hanukkah means “dedication” and is derived from the Hebrew word Chanukah which means “consecration”. The story of Hanukkah dates back to the second century B.C.E when the Maccabees, a Jewish rebel army, successfully fought against the Syrian-Greek forces. After their victory, the Maccabees found only enough oil to keep the Menorah in the Temple lit for one night. To their amazement, the oil lasted for eight days, thus fulfilling the commandment that the Menorah must always remain lit throughout the festival.
Observing the Eight Days of Hanukkah
The eight days of Hanukkah consist of traditional ceremonies and festive activities for all family members. Every night of the 8-day period a candle is lit on the Menorah, the traditional 8-candle Jewish candelabrum. Each night, one more candle is lit until all 8 candles burn brightly on the 8th night. According to Jewish law, candles are lit and prayers said only after nightfall, and all lamps, except those displayed in public places, must be turned off before the menorah is lit. As people light the candles, traditional blessings are said.
Activities for All Ages
The eight days of Hanukkah also involve activities that are appropriate for the entire family. One of the most popular activities is the game of dreidel, which is a small spinning top with four sides, each with a Hebrew letter. Kids of all ages have the chance to earn “gelt” (a coin-like gift), nuts, and candy by spinning the dreidel and guessing the letter it lands on. Other activities include eating traditional foods such as latkes (potato pancakes), sufganiyot (jelly donuts), and litvakes (onion pancakes), as well as playing songs and exchanging gifts.
Ultimately, Hanukkah is an eight day holiday filled with joy and merriment. Just as one candle kindles the other, Hanukkah sparks the spirit of hope and goodness. On the eight day of Hanukkah, Jews celebrate the miracle of light that happened long ago and the good that still prevails in our world today.
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Last update 2023-11-22. Price and product availability may change.