Hanukkah – or the Festival of Lights – is a joyous celebration that is observed by Jews around the world. During Hanukkah, families come together to light the traditional menorah candles, exchange gifts, spin the dreidel, and share in feasting. But what do people actually do to mark this special occasion?
Lighting the Menorah
To commemorate the miracle of oil that was said to last 8 days, an ornamental candelabrum called a menorah is lit on each of the 8 nights of Hanukkah. A candle is lit every night and blessings are said. Typically, it is made from brass, silver, or wood. On each night, one more light is added until all 8 candles are lit on the final day of Hanukkah.
The Dreidel Game
The traditional game of the dreidel is also a part of the celebration. A four-sided spinning top with a special Hebrew symbol on each side, the dreidel is used by two or more people in a game of chance and luck. The game is played by all ages, and participants are typically given gelt (coins) to use as chips. The object of the game is to walk away with the most gelt.
Gifts & Feasting
In many families, giving and receiving gifts is also part of the celebrations. Children receive gift baskets filled with treats such as dreidels, candles, toys, and chocolates. And of course, no Hanukkah would be complete without the traditional feast known as the Hanukkah Seder. This joyous meal includes fried foods like latkes and sufganiyot (doughnuts), to symbolize the miracle of oil.
Hanukkah celebrates the victory of the Maccabees, a moment that was characterized by courage, spirit, and strength – and for this reason, it has become an occasion for celebration in many Jewish households. Whether it’s lighting the menorah, spinning the dreidel, exchanging gifts, or feasting together, these time-honored traditions make Hanukkah a joyous and meaningful occasion for Jews everywhere.
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Last update 2023-11-27. Price and product availability may change.