Hanukkah is an annual celebration celebrating the victory of the Jewish people over tyranny in ancient Israel, and the rededication of the holy Temple of Jerusalem for religious use. The Festival of Lights is celebrated on the 25th of Kislev and marks the start of the eight-day celebration known as the Festival of Lights. During the eight days of Hanukkah, one candle is lit each night, increasing the total to eight candles at the end of the holiday. The increasing number of glowing candles each night serves to add an additional level of festive symbolism and is a reminder of the miracle associated with the Festival. So, when you ask the question “What day of Hanukkah is it?”, the answer depends on the date that this year’s festival began.
The first day of Hanukkah this year is on Sunday, December 6, 2020, and ends on Monday, December 14, 2020. This year, Hanukkah starts on the 25th of the Jewish month of Kislev and falls on the same day each year on the Hebrew calendar. During each of the eight days of Hanukkah, special prayers are said in the synagogue and a candle is lit on a candelabra known as the menorah.
The Meaning of Hanukkah
Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the victory of the Jews over the Greeks in 165 B.C.E. The Greeks had forced the Jews to worship Greek gods and outlawed all Jewish practices. The Jews, led by the Maccabees, fought back and were ultimately successful in reclaiming the Temple in Jerusalem. The holiday is celebrated by lighting a nine-branched menorah and playing the dreidel game. It is also customary to exchange small gifts, such as chocolate coins, and to eat fried foods, like latkes.
The menorah is the most well-known Hanukkah symbol. It is a special candelabrum with nine branches in total, eight of which are used to hold the candles. One branch is used as a “shamash,” or the “helper” candle, which is used to light the other candles each night. The menorah is usually placed on the window sill or in some other visible place so that it can be seen outside the home. The candles are lit in a special order and are accompanied by prayers.
The Dreidel Game
The dreidel game is another popular Hanukkah activity, often enjoyed by children. The game uses a special four-sided top, or dreidel, which bears the letters nun, gimmel, hei, and shin. These letters are Hebrew acronyms for the phrase “Nes Gadol Hayah Sham”, which means, “A great miracle happened there”. During the game, players take turns spinning the dreidel and following the directions on which side it lands.
Hanukkah is a special celebration that commemorates the victory of the Maccabees over the Greeks and the rededication of the holy temple in Jerusalem. Each night of the eight-day Hanukkah holiday, an additional candle is lit on the nine-branched menorah. This is accompanied by special prayers and the exchanging of gifts. Additionally, children enjoy playing the traditional dreidel game. This year, Hanukkah starts on Sunday, December 6th and ends on Monday, December 14th, 2020.
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Last update 2023-11-27. Price and product availability may change.