Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish holiday that commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. It is a joyous occasion that is celebrated with gifts, prayers, and the lighting of the menorah. There are several symbols associated with Hanukkah that are seen and used throughout the holiday. From the dreidel and the menorah to the food and music, there are plenty of ways to honor the traditions of Hanukkah.
The menorah is perhaps the most recognizable symbol of Hanukkah. It is an 8-branched candelabrum that is usually made of brass or gold. The menorah is lit each night of Hanukkah beginning with the first night of the festival and increasing every night until all 8 branches are lit up on the final night. The menorah is usually placed next to the front door of the house, signaling to passersby that the family is celebrating Hanukkah.
The dreidel is a traditional game played during Hanukkah. It is a 4-sided spinning top with letters inscribed on each side: Nun, Gimmel, Hay, and Shin. Players use the dreidel to play a game of chance with small pieces of candy, tokens, or coins. The object of the game is for each player to collect as many of the pieces as possible.
Various traditional foods are eaten during Hanukkah. Latkes, a type of potato pancake, is a classic Hanukkah food that is served with applesauce and sour cream. Sufganiyot, a type of jelly doughnut, is a classic Israeli treat that many eat during Hanukkah. All of these foods are traditionally fried in oil, a reminder of the miracle of the oil in the Temple menorah.
Music is another way to celebrate Hanukkah. Traditional songs such as “Maoz Tzur”, “Rock of Ages”, and “Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah” can be sung in Hebrew or in English. Many Jewish families and communities also perform concerts with modern Hanukkah songs that express the joy and spirit of the holiday. New Hanukkah songs are constantly being written and recorded, connecting generations through music.
From the traditional menorah and dreidel to the classic Hanukkah foods and songs, the symbols of Hanukkah help to bring the traditions of the holiday to life. These symbols, many of which have been used for centuries to remember the story and the miracle of the oil in the Temple, are a way to unify families, communities, and Jews all around the world.
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Last update 2023-11-22. Price and product availability may change.