Donuts have become a popular tradition around Hanukkah, and rightly so – they have been around for centuries! But why are donuts so important to the Jewish holiday, and why have they become so firmly associated with it? Let’s explore this tradition and understand why donuts are so special for Hanukkah.
What is Hanukkah?
Hanukkah (also referred to as Chanukah or the Festival of Lights) is an eight-day Jewish celebration observed by lighting a menorah, singing songs, giving gifts to children, and eating traditional favorites such as latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly-filled donuts). The holiday also includes several other rituals to commemorate the miracle of oil that burned for eight days in the ancient temple.
Why are Donuts Associated with Hanukkah?
Donuts have become an essential part of the holiday, likely due to their symbolism of festivity and joy. It is believed that the spherical shape of the donut represents the cycles of life. They may also symbolize the miracle of oil, as they are fried in oil, just like the food eaten during Hanukkah.
Donuts also remind us of the importance of sharing. During the sweetness of Hanukkah, it’s customary for families to exchange donuts among themselves, give gifts to friends, and host donut-making parties.
Traditional Varieties of Donuts
Jewish tradition is full of many different donut varieties, including:
- Sufganiyot: The most popular donut served during Hanukkah is the sufganiyot, which is basically a jelly-filled doughnut. Sufganiyot are traditionally made from a sweet dough filled with strawberry jelly and topped with icing sugar.
- Lekach: This is a sweet, honey-drenched pastry, served around the Jewish holidays. It’s made with a rich pastry dough that is brushed with a syrup of honey, sugar, lemon juice, orange juice, and spices.
- Berliners: These classic German donuts are believed to have originated in the 18th century. Berliners are made with a thick, yeasty dough that is deep-fried and filled with plum jam or apple compote.
Donuts are a unique and special part of Hanukkah. These treats, both savory and sweet, have been around for centuries and symbolize many important aspects of the holiday. From their representation of life’s cycles to their representation of the miracle of oil, donuts have become a symbol of joy during the Hanukkah season. Not to mention, the deliciousness of these treats has become a part of the holiday tradition that many people look forward to experiencing each year.
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Last update 2023-11-27. Price and product availability may change.