Hanukkah

Hanukkah 2016

Get ready to light the menorah on Dec. 24.

Hanukkah 2016 begins at sunset on Saturday, December 24, and ends on Sunday, January 1. Click here for a Hanukkah checklist. 

What is Hanukkah?

Hanukkah, which is Hebrew for “dedication,” is the Festival of Lights.

It commemorates the victory of the Maccabees over the Syrian Greek army, and the subsequent miracle of rededicating the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and restoring its menorah, or lamp.

The miracle of Hanukkah is that only one vial of oil was found with just enough oil to illuminate the Temple lamp for one day, and yet it lasted for eight full days.

hanukkah montage

How Do You Celebrate Hanukkah?

We celebrate Hanukkah at home by lighting the menorah (each night we light one additional candle to the number from the previous night), playing dreidel, and eating special foods unique to Hanukkah. Some people also sing Hanukkah songs or exchange gifts after lighting the menorah, which is also called a hanukkiah. Many people host and attend Hanukkah parties.

What Are Hanukkah Foods?

Many Hanukkah foods are deep-fried in oil, symbolizing the oil from the menorah used in the Temple. These include latkes, or potato pancakes, and jelly doughnuts. Other favorites include the Sephardic delicacy bimuelos and use, of course, applesauce as a latke topping. Chocolate gelt, a candy that gets its name from the Yiddish word for money, is another popular Hanukkah treat. To buy Fair Trade chocolate gelt, click here.

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