While Hanukkah may not be the hot holiday being advertised on television or in magazines, Hanukkah does come with some wonderful traditions. Here are just a couple great ways to get into the Hanukkah spirit.Hanukkah is an eight day holiday celebrated either in November or December.
Hanukkah is just around the corner, with this year falling on the first night of Thanksgiving
It signifies the rededication of the 2nd Temple in Jerusalem. Here, Jews revolted against the Greek-Syrian oppressors, who had banned Jews from practicing their faith and in the process they destroyed the 2nd Temple. Then later Judah Maccabee gathered an army to fight the Greek-Syrians and soon they were defeated. In honor of the Jewish faith coming back into being, Judah ordered for a menorah to be lit in honor of the Temple. Judah and his followers awoke the next morning to find that the menorah was still burning, even though they only had enough oil for it to burn for one night.
In the end it burned for eight nights, which is why today Jews still light a candle for every night of Hanukkah
Many families decide to put the menorah in the window of their homes, to remind others of the miracle that occurred in the 2nd Temple. Because the Maccabees only had a small amount of oil to light their menorah, many Jews tend to eat deep fried food based in oil during the holiday including latkes and jam-filled donuts.Depending on each household, presents can be given each night of the holiday or not at all. Hanukkah is more about rededicating ones self to their Jewish faith and the Maccabees defeat of the Greek-Syrians.
Many Jews will also engage in a game called Dreidel, using a four-sided spinning top. Each side has a Hebrew letter on it, symbolizing ones winning of gelt (gold-wrapped chocolate.) In ancient times, parents would give their children money to give to their teachers, as a token of their gratitude for the education they received. The chocolate coins are prizes to thank the children for participating in their Jewish studies. In some households, parents will give the children real money to play with; however, the earnings will go to charities to teach children the importance of tzedakah, meaning, “acts of charity.”
In the end, Hanukkah is just another excuse to get together with your family, tell stories of the ones who came before us and eat delicious, oil covered food!
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