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.
In 2023, Hanukkah begins at sundown on Thursday, Dec. 7 and lasts until sundown on Friday, Dec. 15.
In 2024, Hanukkah begins at sundown on Wednesday, Dec. 25 and lasts until sundown on Thursday, Jan. 2.
In 2025, Hanukkah begins at sundown on Sunday, Dec. 14 and lasts until sundown on Monday, Dec. 22.
In 2026, Hanukkah begins at sundown on Friday, Dec. 4 and lasts until sundown on Saturday, Dec. 12.
In 2027, Hanukkah begins at sundown on Friday, Dec. 24 and lasts until sundown on Saturday, Jan. 1.
Find a Hanukkah prep checklist here.
What is Hanukkah?
Hanukkah, or the Festival of Rededication, celebrates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after its defilement by the Syrian Greeks in 164 BCE. Although it is a late addition to the Jewish liturgical calendar, the eight-day festival of Hanukkah has become a beloved and joyous holiday. It is also known as the Festival of Lights and usually takes place in December, at the time of year when the days are shortest in the northern hemisphere.
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.
Download a printable PDF of the Hanukkah candle blessings here.
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.
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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.