This year, the Jewish holiday Hanukkah begins on December 16th and goes until sunset on December 24th. Since Hanukkah is based on the Jewish lunar calendar, it always starts on the 25th day of Kislev. This holiday is also known as the Festival of Lights. It continues for eight days with a candle being lit each night.
Hanukkah, which is Hebrew for dedication, honors the victory of the Jews over the Greek Syrians in 165 BC. After their victory, the Maccabees, sons of the family that led the revolt, entered the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and dedicated it to the service of God. After the Temple was rededicated, the time came to light the N'er Tamid, the Eternal Light of the temple. The Jews could find only one jar of oil, marked with the seal of the High Priest, which was only enough to last one evening. Miraculously, the oil kept the lights burning for the entire eight nights it took to get new oil.
Light the Menorah
The menorah, or Hanukiyah, holds nine candles. Eight candles represent the eight days of Hanukkah, and the ninth, the Shamash, is used to light the other candles. The candles are lit from left to right, with one candle for each day of the festival, so that as every day passes, the menorah becomes brighter and brighter.
How to Celebrate
- After lighting the menorah, families gather for dinner. They eat traditional Hanukkah foods, like latkes and applesauce.
- Children receive a gift for each night of Hanukkah.
- It's a tradition for children to play the dreidel game during Hanukkah.
Have Your Say
How do you celebrate? let us know!