Do you celebrate Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights? This year, Hanukkah begins on December 20th and runs through the 28th. There are a lot of traditions wrapped up with Hanukkah, traditions that you and your family may enjoy celebrating and participating in.
Hanukkah revolves around the story of the Macabees, a group of Jews who faced religious persecution. They battled against the Syrian army, which was invading their homeland, and while they were outnumbered, they eventually succeeded. Following the war, they returned to their Holy Temple, which was in disrepair. They set out to rebuild it and rededicate it, which would involve lighting the N’er Tamid, the eternal light.
However, their supply of oil to light the lamp was very limited, and more oil could not be acquired right away. Even though there was only enough oil to light the lamp for one day, it miraculously lasted eight days. This led to the tradition of lighting one candle on the menorah on the first day of Hanukkah, then lighting another each night until the festival is over.
In addition to placing the menorah in a window during Hanukkah, homes are also often decorated in white and blue.
Children of Jewish families often hear from others that they’re missing out on amazing Christmas gifts. Well, the truth is that children usually get a gift or a little money every night, so instead of one big day of gifts, those who celebrate Hanukkah get gifts for over a week.
Many children also play the game of dreidyl. This game involves spinning a small, four-sided wooden top that features Hebrew letters on each side. The traditional Dreidel Song is usually sung while spinning.
There are many traditional foods associated with Hanukkah. They include latkes, which are small fried potato pancakes, and sufganiyot, a type of jelly donut. If you’ve never had these treats before, look up the recipes online and try them. You don’t have to celebrate Hanukkah to enjoy them.