Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday that celebrates the victory of the Jews over their enemies in ancient times, and the famous miracle of a single cruse of sacred oil burning for eight days. Hanukkah is celebrated from the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar. Each of the eight days of Hanukkah has its own rituals and traditions that many Jewish families observe. The first day of Hanukkah is a special day with its own rituals.
On the first night of Hanukkah, many Jewish families light the Hanukkah menorah. This menorah has nine branches. The ninth branch, called the shamash, is used to light the other eight branches. On the first night, one candle is lit, and each night the next candle is added until all eight candles are lit on the last night of the holiday. Many families also sing traditional Hanukkah songs as they light the menorah. After the menorah is lit, families often gather to share a festive meal with traditional Hanukkah foods such as potato latkes (pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly-filled pastries).
Another popular activity on the first night of Hanukkah is to give out Hanukkah gelt or money. This tradition is believed to have originated from Jewish communities in Europe during the Middle Ages, and is still observed by many families today. On the first night of Hanukkah, it is customary for parents to give their children small coins called gelt or a larger sum of money or gifts. Many families also play the traditional Hanukkah dreidel game with the gelt.
Study and Pray
In addition to celebrations and activities, the first day of Hanukkah is also a time for reflection and contemplation. The Talmud, the collection of rabbinic teachings, states that the first day of Hanukkah is marked by study and prayer. During this day, Jewish people recite special prayers, read from works of Torah, and meditate on the deeper spiritual messages of the holiday.
The first day of Hanukkah is an exciting and meaningful holiday for Jewish families. On this day, families gather together to light the menorah, eat festive meals, play dreidel, and give out Hanukkah gelt. The day is also marked by reflection and prayers as we contemplate the deeper themes of the Hanukkah story.
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Last update 2023-11-27. Price and product availability may change.