The holidays of Christmas and Hanukkah are often confused because of their close proximity on the calendar year. However, there are distinct differences between the two festivals that are worth noting. In the article below, we’ll discuss three key differences between the two.
The prevailing difference between Christmas and Hanukkah is the religious backdrop and origin of the holiday. Christmas is a Christian holiday, while Hanukkah is a Jewish festival. Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus, while Hanukkah marks the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem twenty-two years later.
The observances of the two holidays are also very different. During Christmas, most families exchange gifts and decorate their houses with Christmas decorations, such as nativities, wreaths, Christmas trees, and outdoor lighting. But the celebration of Hanukkah has different rituals and customs, such as lighting the menorah, reciting special prayers, dreidel games, and gift-giving. Traditional Hanukkah foods, such as latkes and jelly-filled doughnuts, are also eaten during the festival.
Another key difference is the duration of the holiday. Christmas is celebrated from December 25 to January 5, while Hanukkah is celebrated for eight days, starting on the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev. Some families, however, extend Hanukkah celebrations for nine days by adding an extra day of the festival, usually the first day.
Christmas and Hanukkah, although similar in dates, have various distinct identities. While the two holidays might often appear to be similar, the differences between the two are significant and worth noting. Whether you plan to celebrate either or both holidays, the observance and traditions can provide a foundation from which to learn and share in each other’s culture and heritage.
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Last update 2023-11-22. Price and product availability may change.