Hanukkah and Christmas are two beloved holidays that many people around the world look forward to each year. Although the holidays have similarities, there are also a few key differences between the two. To understand the subtle distinctions between Hanukkah and Christmas, it helps to know their respective histories and traditions.
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A Brief Overview Of Hanukkah
Hanukkah is an eight day “Festival of Lights” celebrated by Jewish people all over the world. The name “Hanukkah” is derived from the Hebrew word for “dedication” and is also referred to as the Festival of Dedication or The Festival of Lights. The holiday celebrates the re-dedication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem after the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire. During the religious freedom they gained, the Jewish people re-lit the menorah in the Temple which is supposed to have only had enough oil to burn for 1 day and miraculously lasted for 8 days.
A Brief Overview Of Christmas
Unlike Hanukkah, Christmas is celebrated by people from a variety of different backgrounds and religions around the world, not just those who practice Christianity. Christmas is celebrated on December 25th and marks the birth of Jesus Christ. On the day of Christmas, many people give and exchange presents, share meals with friends and family, sing songs and watch Christmas movies.
The Differences Between Hanukkah And Christmas
The most obvious difference between the two holidays is their religious affiliation. While both Christianity and Judaism recognize Jesus Christ, only those who are members of the Jewish faith acknowledge and celebrate Hanukkah.
In addition to their religious differences, Hanukkah and Christmas are also celebrated at different times of year. Hanukkah is an eight day “Festival of Lights” celebrated by Jewish people from late November to late December; while Christmas is celebrated on December 25th only.
The celebrations of each holiday typically include songs, gift-giving, and festive meals. However, the two holidays differ in the type of gifts that are shared. Gifts given during Christmas are usually from Santa Claus whereas gifts given during Hanukkah are usually from the parents. As for decorations, Christmas decorations typically feature wreaths, mistletoes, and a large Christmas tree while decorating for Hanukkah is more focused on a Menorah.
4) Menorah vs. Christmas Tree
The difference between the Menorah and the Christmas tree is yet another difference between the two holidays. The Menorah, also known as the Hanukiah, is an important symbol of Hanukkah and is usually placed in the window to remind passers-by of the festival. It consists of nine branches with eight candle holders around a middle candle called the “shamash”. A Hanukkah Menorah is lit every day starting from the 25th day of the Hebrew calendar month of Kislev. On the other hand, the Christmas tree is a traditional part of Christmas decorations. It is usually decorated with colorful ornaments, garlands, and lights. The Christmas tree is typically set up in the home on Christmas Eve or the day of Christmas and is often the centerpiece of the living room.
In conclusion, Hanukkah and Christmas are two beloved holidays celebrated in different parts of the world. They have similarities and differences including religion, timing, celebration and, most noticeably, in the decorations. For those who celebrate both, Hanukkah is a time to remember the history of the Jewish people and Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
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Last update 2023-11-22. Price and product availability may change.