Hanukkah is an 8 day Jewish holiday that celebrates religious freedom and the miraculous military victory over the Syrian-Greeks more than 2,000 years ago. This holiday celebrates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem when one day’s worth of oil burned for 8 days. To commemorate the miracle, Jews around the world light a nine-branched candelabra (or menorah) for 8 nights, with a ninth candlestick, known as the Shamash or “Servant”, used to light the other 8 candles. Each night one extra candle is lit until all 8 are lit on the eighth night of the holiday.
What Happens in Hanukkah?
Hanukkah is a multi-day celebration that is filled with traditions to remember the miracle of the oil burning in the Temple. Every day of Hanukkah starts with lighting a candle on the Hanukiah, the nine-branched menorah, which is usually placed in a window to symbolize that the light of the miracle is being shared with the entire world. Candles are lit in a special sequence from right to left, and each night one more candle is lit until the eighth candle is lit on the last night.
The Hanukiah celebration is usually the start of the evening and is usually followed with Hanukkah prayers and singing. After that, it is tradition to eat special Hanukkah foods like latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiot (donuts). The meals are usually concluded by blessing Hanukkah gelt, which is a special coin that is used to donate to charity (preferably to the poor) or to play the traditional Hanukkah game of dreidel. The game of dreidel is usually played with a dreidel, which is a spinning top that has four side letters which spell out a Hebrew acronym ”Nes Gadol Haya Sham” (“a great miracle happened there”). Everyone playing the game starts with 10 units of currency, then each player takes turns spinning the dreidel and taking (or giving) money depending on which side the dreidel lands.
At the end of the 8 nights, the Hanukiah is lit, and gifts are exchanged. Usually, gifts can range from books, toys, and of course gelt.
In conclusion, Hanukkah is a wonderful holiday that celebrates the miracle of the oil burning and is celebrated with different traditional customs and rituals. It is a 8 day holiday that begins by lighting a Hanukiah and is usually followed by traditional Hanukkah foods and games of dreidel. On the last night, the Hanukiah is lit again, and presents are exchanged.
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Last update 2023-11-27. Price and product availability may change.