Hanukkah is the eight-day Jewish Festival of Lights that is celebrated every year around the world. It is the celebration of a miraculous victory thousands of years ago in the Maccabees’ liberation of Jerusalem from the Greek-Syrians. It is also an important time of year for religious significance and social tradition in which the whole family participates in a myriad of ways.
The Tradition of Lighting the Menorah
Hanukkah celebrates the rededication of the holy Temple in Jerusalem following the Maccabees’ successful rebellion against the tyrannical Greek-Syrian Empire. Most notably, the event is commemorated with the lighting of the Menora, a candelabrum with eight oil lamps. One lamp is lit each night for eight nights.
Additional Hanukkah Traditions
In addition to the lighting of the Menora, other observances of Hanukkah are also widespread. It is customary to play dreidel, a four-sided spinning top with Hebrew markings, as the spinning of the dreidel is said to symbolize both the miracles and the hopes of the Maccabees. The dreidel game rewards participants with chocolate coins (gelt). Another Hanukkah observance is the eating of traditional fried foods in oil such as latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly-filled donuts) as an enhanced reminder of the event.
Giving Hanukkah Gifts
The giving of Hanukkah gifts is likewise a popular tradition. Families may give one present to each child in the family. Customarily, a child will receive a Hanukkah gelt (a few coins) from each adult. Others may choose to give gifts, such as books, clothes, toys, games, music, and the like, for each night of Hanukkah.
Hanukkah is a wonderful celebration that reminds us of the miraculous success of the Jewish nation and celebrates the importance of perseverance, hope, community and tradition. It is a time filled with laughter, joy and celebration. No matter where you are in the world, Hanukkah is the time of year to stay close with family and friends, wishing each other and the world brighter days ahead.
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Last update 2023-11-27. Price and product availability may change.