Hanukkah, or the ‘Festival of Lights’, is an eight-day celebration that honors the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem. This festive holiday is celebrated each year during the 25th day of Kislev on the Jewish calendar. During the eight days of Hanukkah, many traditional activities, prayers and rituals take place to commemorate this great event.
The Hanukkah Story
The story of Hanukkah originates in the second century BCE when the Israeli revolt against the Greeks successfully liberated Jerusalem from the hands of the oppressors. When the time came to rededicate the Holy Temple, which had been profaned by the Greek army, there was only enough blessed oil to keep the menorah burning for one night, but miraculously, it burned for eight nights.
The menorah, which is a nine-branched candelabrum lit during Hanukkah, serves as a lasting reminder of the miracle of that one night’s oil burning for eight nights. On each of the eight nights of Hanukkah, one additional new candles is added to the menorah and lit from a preexisting flame – symbolizing the miracle of that one flame lasting through eight nights.
Celebrations and Customs
In celebration of this miracle, people celebrate with a variety of customs. Common elements of Hanukkah include lighting the menorah, eating fried foods such as latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly-filled donuts), playing with the dreidel (a four-sided spinning top with Hebrew letters on each side) and exchanging traditional gifts.
Families often come together to light the menorah and say special blessings over it. There is also a blessing said over the foods which are eaten during the celebration. People of all ages join in the festivities related to the dreidel game which is played with real or chocolate coins.
Giving traditional Hanukkah gifts is another tradition which is celebrated by many Jewish families. The most popular gifts are usually gelt (coins or chocolate coins) and menorahs. Other popular gift ideas include holiday books, kitchen supplies, Hanukkah books and music, and Judaica items such as Star of David jewelry, Passover dishes, and Shabbat candles.
Significance of Hanukkah
Hanukkah is a celebration of freedom and the Jews’ victory over the powerful Greek oppressors who sought to destroy their culture and religion. It is also a reminder of the miracle of the oil burning for eight nights and the power of faith. The message of Hanukkah is one that is relevant to all people and religions, and its spirit and joy continues to be celebrated around the world.
Hanukkah is a time of festive celebration for people of all ages and backgrounds. A beautiful and touching story of religious freedom and faith, Hanukkah serves as a reminder to us all of the power of hope and dedication in the face of despair. Whether gathering with family, friends and loved ones, exchanging gifts, lighting candles, playing dreidels, or eating traditional fried foods, this joyous holiday provides a wonderful opportunity to bring people together and to celebrate the freedom and miracles of the ancient past.
- What Is The Miracle Of Hanukkah?
- What Is Origin Or Meaning Of Hanukkah?
- What Is Another Name For The Jewish Holiday Of Hanukkah?
- What Is Hanukkah About?
- When Did The Hanukkah Story Take Place?
- What Happens On Hanukkah?
- When Is Hanukkah Celebrated And How Long Does It Last?
- What Is The Feast Of Hanukkah?
- What Does The Menorah Represent In Hanukkah?
- What Hanukkah Night Is Tonight?
- How People Celebrate Hanukkah?
- When Is Happy Hanukkah?
- What Is The Background Of Hanukkah?
- What Days Is Hanukkah Celebrated?
- How Do You Explain Hanukkah To A Child?
Last update 2023-11-27. Price and product availability may change.