Hanukkah is a unique and joyous eight-day Jewish holiday that celebrates the miracle of a small portion of oil burning for eight nights in 165 BC. But did you know that there are lots of other interesting and fun facts about Hanukkah that you may not have heard of? Let’s take a look at some of these fun facts about Hanukkah that you may not have known.
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1. Hanukkah Wasn’t Always Celebrated In December:
Contrary to popular belief, Hanukkah was not always celebrated in December. In ancient times, Hanukkah was celebrated in late spring, up until the 4th century when the winter holiday of Saturnalia was celebrated in the same way. However, by the 17th century, popular opinion focused on celebrating the holiday during the winter months.
2. People Play Hanukkah Games:
Like many holiday traditions, Hanukkah has it’s own games that are played. A popular Hanukkah game is called dreidel, a four-sided spinning top with each side displaying a Hebrew letter. The letters are “nun,” “gimel,” “hei,” and “shin,” which are an acronym for the phrase “Nes Gadol Hayah Sham,” which means “a great miracle happened there” in Hebrew. This game is played by players taking turns spinning the dreidel and winning corresponding pieces of gelt – usually chocolate coins – depending on the letter that the dreidel stops on.
3. The Menorah Has Nine Branches:
The traditional Hanukkah menorah – also known as a Hanukiah – has nine branches, eight of which are used to light a flame for each of the eight nights of Hanukkah, and the ninth branch, called the shamash, is used to light the other candles. The Hanukiah is lit at the start of each Hanukkah evening and is placed in front of a window where it can be seen by others.
4. Hanukkah Has Its Own Food:
In addition to playing traditional games, Hanukkah has its own special food. Common Hanukkah treats include latkes – which are potato pancakes fried in oil – and donuts. These treats are eaten to commemorate the miracle of the oil burning for eight days.
Hanukkah is an important Jewish holiday that celebrates the miracle of the oil burning for eight days in 165 BC. It is celebrated with traditional games, special treats, and a menorah is lit for each night of the holiday. There are many interesting and fun facts about Hanukkah that you may not have heard of, and this article has hopefully given you a better understanding of the traditions and history behind this special holiday.
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Last update 2023-11-27. Price and product availability may change.