From Christina Mattison Ebert’s D’rash Designs series.

How to Greet Someone on Hanukkah

There are phrases you can use to wish someone a Happy Hanukkah.

The winter holiday of Hanukkah commemorates the victory of the Maccabees and the subsequent rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem. The eight-day festival is a joyous occasion, so greeting Jewish friends, family and colleagues with warm Hanukkah wishes will surely be welcomed. 

Due to its proximity to Christmas, Hanukkah has become one of the most well-known Jewish holidays, despite being a minor holiday that isn’t even mentioned in the Torah. While “Happy Holidays” isn’t inappropriate to say during the Festival of Lights, there are several Hanukkah-specific phrases you can use to greet someone on Hanukkah.

In English, it’s perfectly normal to say “Happy Hanukkah.” To say Happy Hanukkah in Hebrew, you can say chag chanuka sameach, (pronounced chahg cha-nu-KAH sah-MAY-ach.)

In Israel, it is common to just say chanuka sameach. Some Israelis prefer chag urim sameach (pronounced chahg oo-REEM sah-MAY-ach), which literally translates to “Happy Festival of Lights.” 

Prefer Yiddish? Wish your friends Ah Freilichin Hanukkah, (a happy Hanukkah). Less common but also beautiful: A Lichtiger Hanukkah, meaning a Hanukkah full of light.

And in Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) you can say Hanukah alegre — happy Hanukkah!

Want to deepen your Hanukkah vocabulary even more? Check out these must-know Hanukkah words and phrases.

If you want to know how to greet your friends and family on other Jewish holidays, some of which have their own special greetings, check out these articles:

Got other Hanukkah questions? Here are a few more articles that may be of interest:

Explore Hanukkah’s history, global traditions, food and more with My Jewish Learning’s “All About Hanukkah” email series. Sign up to take a journey through Hanukkah and go deeper into the Festival of Lights.

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