The color blue and white are integral components of traditional Hanukkah celebrations. From vases to tallits, these two shades come to represent the holiday’s customs and rituals the world over. But why are blue and white chosen to represent this special holiday?
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The Origin of Blue and White
At the root of the blue and white colors used for Hanukkah is the flag of the State of Israel – the symbol of Jewish independence. The colors of the Israeli flag derive from the traditional tallit – a Jewish shawl traditionally worn over one’s clothing. In the corners of the rectangle shawl are the fringes called tzitzit. The four-cornered garment serves as a reminder of the divine commandments mentioned four times in the Torah. It’s the blue dye in these strings that bring forth the royal blue of the Torah’s Priestly Garment. By combining the colors of the tallit with the colors of the Israeli flag, blue and white are used as a symbol of Jewish identity.
While the blue and white of the Israeli flag was adopted to represent modern Jewish identity, these colors existed in Jewish culture well before 1948. In fact, blue and white hues can be traced back to ancient Israel, during the time of the Second Temple. It is said that after the Jews won the war of independence against their Greek-Syrian overlords, they celebrated the festival of Hanukkah. At this festival, a special blue fabric was used to decorate the Temple. The fabric had a pattern of royal elephants and palm trees, which has been adopted over the centuries as the basis of most of the Hanukkah decorations used today.
Popularization of the Color Scheme
As Judaism spread throughout the world, so did the traditional blue and white colors associated with Hanukkah. Jews who were dispersed across Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa created their own unique Hanukkah decorations in blue and white – from embroidered clothing to clay oil lamps. During the 17th century, European Jews began advocating for the creation of blue and white hanukiyah (a special hanukkah menorah) in an effort to unify Jewish culture and traditions around the world. By the early 20th century, the blue and white color scheme of Hanukkah had become a familiar sight in Jewish households worldwide.
Significance of the Colors
The blue and white of Hanukkah bring several messages to mind. For many Jews, these colors signify the spirit of independence and courage Jews have demonstrated over the centuries. For others, blue and white stands for the triumph of light over darkness and for peace and hope in times of struggle. For all Jews, this signature blue and white expresses one’s belonging to the Jewish people and their eternal connection to the State of Israel.
In conclusion, blue and white represent much more than just a signature color scheme. These colors embody the values and principles the Jewish people have upheld over the centuries and encapsulate the spirit of Hanukkah. By wearing, displaying, and creating blue and white decorations, Jews can celebrate their faith and its traditions with pride and optimism.
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Last update 2023-11-22. Price and product availability may change.