Hanukkah is an important Jewish holiday which is celebrated each year on the 25th day of the month of Kislev. It commemorates the rededication of the menorah in the temple in Jerusalem. During this eight-day holiday, families light candles on the menorah, read the scripture, eat special food and spin the dreidel. Here’s a beginner’s guide on how you can celebrate Hanukkah with your family and friends.
<h2> Candles </h2>
The centerpiece of Hanukkah is the menorah, an eight-branched candelabra that is placed in the window or in a common area to serve as a symbol to the outside world that Jewish people are celebrating Hanukkah. Candles are lit each evening, starting on the first day of Hanukkah and increasing for the eight nights of the holiday. On the first night, it’s traditional to light just the shamesh (helper) candle, which is then used to light the additional candles for the remaining nights of Hanukkah.
<h2> Dreidel </h2>
The spinning of the dreidel is one of the most popular traditional Hanukkah activities. Every household would have a dreidel, which is a four-sided spinning top with a Hebrew letter on each side. Traditionally, a dreidel is made from clay, wood, or ceramic and is covered with Hebrew letters (נג הי שמץ פס). These letters initials – Nun, Gimmel, Hay, and Shin – are the first letters of the four Hebrew words “Nes Gadol Haya Sham” (A miraculous great salvation happened there). Typically, two or more people play with the dreidel using coins or chocolate coins and gambling for the pot.
<h2> Gelt </h2>
Gelt (coins) are given to children as Hanukkah gifts. Customarily, Jewish parents would give gelt to their children every night of Hanukkah to increase the joy and spirit of the holiday. Today, gelt consists of gold-covered candy coins made of chocolate. Kids usually receive gelt as a reward for playing the dreidel game, or it’s given as a token of love and happiness.
<h2> Latkes </h2>
No Hanukkah celebration is complete without the iconic and popular Hanukkah latkes. Latkes are potato pancakes fried in oil and enjoyed during the Hanukkah holiday. The oil plays an important part in the Hanukkah celebration as it symbolizes the miracle of a single-day’s worth of oil that miraculously burned in the Temple for eight days and nights. Latkes are usually served with sour cream or applesauce.
Celebrating Hanukkah is a wonderful way to bring your family and friends together and experience a bit of Jewish culture and history. By participating in traditional Hanukkah activities such as lighting the menorah, spinning the dreidel, giving Hanukkah gifts, and eating latkes, your family can create long-lasting memories that will carry with you for years to come.
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Last update 2023-11-27. Price and product availability may change.