Hanukkah

Mackenzie Spanske

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Hanukkah is a holiday celebrated for eight days every year and starts on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev. Hanukkah started about 2,200 years ago by Israelites over the victory of Greek-Syrian ruler Antiochus. Hanukkah is also known as the Jewish Festival of Lights and is usually celebrated in November or December.

Hanukkah has many traditions that have been celebrated for many years. One of them is that of the Menorah, which is a nine branched candelabrum also known as a Hanukiah. Each night of Hanukkah a candle is placed on the Menorah from right to left and lit left to right, then on the last night all the candles are lit all together. In ancient times oil was used to light the candelabrum, but now actual candles are used. Another tradition is the Dreidel. This is a four sided top that has a Hebrew letter on each side. The word “dreidel” translates to, “to spin.” The four letters on the sides are, nun, gimel, hay, and shin. Nun means “nothing”, gimel means “whole”, hay means “half”, shin means “put in” and together they mean, “a miracle happened here.” It is also a tradition to praise children of their Torah studies. During this time they are given presents and money. These are only a few common traditions, as there are many more.

They’re also many traditions that are passed down through generations that have to do with food. People who celebrate Hanukkah eat fried food to focus on oil, which is what the menorah was originally lit with. One food tradition is that of the latkes. They are fried potato pancakes and it’s one of the most common family traditions, which are served with sour cream, applesauce and many other condiments. Sufganiyot is a jelly donut, which is fried yeast dough with strawberry jelly inside and powder sugar dusted on top. One more thing that people have during Hanukkah is gelt. Gelt refers to money, but also chocolate coins. The coins are given to children as a reward. These are only some of the traditional Hanukkah dishes that look amazing and delicious, but there are so many more that people enjoy during the holiday.

Hanukkah happens for eight days once a year. It has many ancient and modern traditions that are celebrated with honor. This year Hanukkah starts on December 12th and ends on December 20th. If you celebrate it or not, I wish you happy holidays!

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