Hanukkah is an ancient Jewish celebration commemorating the re-dedication of the holy temple in Jerusalem. The holiday is celebrated with religious services, family gatherings, gift giving, and of course eating traditional foods. But just where is this festival of lights celebrated and observed around the world?
Hanukkah is celebrated in countries around the world. The main countries in which Hanukkah is held are the United States, Canada, Israel, the United Kingdom, and Germany. In the United States, Hanukkah celebrations are likely to be found in larger Jewish communities in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and other metropolitan areas. Other countries with Jewish communities will also typically host Hanukkah festivities, including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, India, Mexico, Poland, and Russia.
Hanukkah Celebrations in Israel
In Israel, Hanukkah is known as the Festival of Lights. Many homes and businesses are decorated with electric lights, and many restaurants create special menus dedicated to traditional Hanukkah dishes. During Hanukkah, Israeli cities host a variety of activities, including:
- Outdoor Menorah lightings found in public parks, gardens, and gathering spots
- Kite-flying and other outdoor activities for children
- Musical concerts and competitions
- Public readings of the story of Hanukkah
- Public recitation of biblical verses
Hanukkah Celebrations in the United States and Canada
In the United States and Canada, Hanukkah celebrations are typically more traditional in nature. Although families may still light Menorahs in their homes, often the main event is the exchange of gifts and the traditional feast. Gifts may range from small trinkets to large presents, and the food is usually a mixture of both traditional and contemporary Jewish dishes. On each night of Hanukkah, a special prayer is often recited and candles are lit in the Menorah. In some households, a traditional game of dreidel is also played.
Hanukkah is celebrated in many different countries by people of all different backgrounds. While some of the celebrations may be more contemporary and some more traditional, all tend to be reflective of the Jewish culture and religion. Whether it is in Israel, the United States, Canada, or elsewhere, the beauty of Hanukkah shines bright to remind us of the dedication and bravery of our ancestors.
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Last update 2023-11-27. Price and product availability may change.