Happy Hanukkah!

Learn about this popular eight day Jewish holiday. There are many fun foods, games, and traditions.

Anna Rampoldi, Contributor

On Sunday, December 22, the popular eight day Jewish holiday Hanukkah, also known as Chanukah begins. It is a widely celebrated holiday that honors when Judah the Maccabee and a small band of Jews drove away the Greeks that were trying to take away their land and reclaimed the Holy Temple. When the Jews got their temple back, they had a single jar of oil to light the menorah that was only supposed to last one day when it ended up lasting eight days, and this is why Hanukkah lasts eight days. The days of Hanukkah are celebrated with delicious food, games such as the dreidel and lighting the menorah. 

During Hanukkah, many scrumptious meals are served such as meat, fried foods, and desserts. Many traditional foods were passed on and are still eaten in many homes during this holiday. Latkes are one of the most popular fried foods to eat during Hanukkah and they are delicious. Latkes are like fried potato pancakes. There are many different recipes for this food making these recipes special to many families. One of the traditional meat meals shared on the usually the Friday night of Hanukkah is brisket. The flavorful meat is perfect for a big family to enjoy. It is also a popular choice to eat roasted chicken along side of your latkes. The flavors complement each other wonderfully. 

One of the most popular games to play during Hanukkah is dreidel. A dreidel has four sides with a spin top and has Hebrew letters engraved on each side. Nun, gimel, hay, and shin is what placed on the side of dreidels. In English this means “A Great Miracle Happened There”. The word “there” is referring to Israel which is where this whole holiday began. To play this game everyone must start with an equal amount of game pieces. You can use coins, candies, treats, etc. Everyone must then place one piece in the middle which is called a “pot” usually. Players then take turns spinning the dreidel. If the dreidel falls on “nun” then you don’t get any of the pot. If the dreidel lands on “gimel” then you get the whole pot. If the symbol “hey” is landed on the you get half the pot. Finally, if “shin” is landed on the you must put another playing piece into the middle. 

Hanukkah is a time to gather with friends and family to celebrate what happened on these eight days thousands of years ago. This Jewish holiday brings in foods and games that many people may not know about. So, even though you may not celebrate Hanukkah, know why the eight days of this holiday is important to many people and their families. 

 

Photo Credit: shutterstock.com

Sources: https://www.chabad.org/holidays/chanukah/article_cdo/aid/102911/jewish/What-Is-Hanukkah.htm

https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/hanukkah

https://www.thespruceeats.com/hanukkah-food-traditions-2121650