Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights is a holiday that is celebrated each year around the globe. Commemorating the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE, it is celebrated by lighting a nine candle chanukiah, eating fried foods such as latkes and sufganiyot, playing the dreidel game, and giving gelt (chocolate coins). Hanukkah also has many symbols associated with it which serve to remind us of the miracle of the oil and the strength of the Maccabees.
The most recognizable of all symbols of Hanukkah is the menorah, which consists of nine candles arranged in a candelabrum. The center candle, the shamash (or “attendant”), is used to light the other eight candles, and each night one candle is lit until all eight candles are lit on the eighth night. It symbolizes the miracle of the one-day supply of oil that lasted eight days in the Temple.
The dreidel is another symbol associated with Hanukkah. The traditional four-sided spinning top is made of wood, metal, or plastic, and is engraved with four Hebrew letters which form the acronym meaning “A great miracle happened there”. The letters stand for “Nes gadol heyah sham” (A great miracle happened there). The dreidel is also a fun game in which players spin the top and follow the instructions on which side lands face up.
The giving of gelt (money) is a time-honored tradition for Hanukkah. The money given is usually small coins made of chocolate, although actual coins are sometimes given. The money symbolizes the redemption of the Jews from spiritual slavery, and the joy in charity and social justice that the Maccabees represented.
Latkes and Sufganiyot
The eating of fried foods such as latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly donuts) is also a part of the celebration. Latkes are made by frying grated potatoes with onions and seasonings, and sufganiyot are round doughnuts filled with jelly. They represent the oil that burned for eight days in the Temple, and their round shape symbolizes the miracle of the never-ending light.
In conclusion, Hanukkah is a holiday that is celebrated with the help of many symbols that remind us of the miracle of the oil and the strength of the Maccabees. The menorah, dreidel, gelt, latkes, and sufganiyot all serve as reminders of hope, joy, and freedom. This holiday is a time of fun and remembrance, celebrated all around the world with friends and family.
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Last update 2023-11-27. Price and product availability may change.