Hanukkah traditions and importance

Hanukkah traditions and importance

April Carr, Writer

Hanukkah is an eight day Jewish tradition that celebrates the miracle that occurred when the Maccabees reclaimed the temple. Hanukkah means dedication and celebrates the rededication of the holy temple, according to Henry Ford college. On each of the eight days, one candle is lit at night on the Menorah to show thanks for the miracles that were performed for their ancestors.

According to Hanukkah-History, there are nine candles on the Menorah with one acting as a helper to light the other eight candles. During this eight day period, traditional foods are cooked in oil to symbolize the miracle oil that burned for eight days straight. This includes latkes, also known as potato pancakes, and sufganiyot, which are round jelly donuts. Latkes and jelly donuts are now being served at Disney World in honor of the holiday. These are just a few of the traditional foods made during Hanukkah. 

”Usually my family lights one candle each night on the menorah,” sophomore Emma Haines said. “We read from the Torah and play the dreidel game. My favorite part is the traditional food we eat, latkes and Matzo ball soup.”

Along with the traditional foods made on Hanukkah and the lights lit on each night, the dreidel game is one of the most popular Hanukkah traditions. The game is symbolic because it represents the Hebrew alphabet. According to ABC7 news, the dreidel is played in a group setting and a player can either win everything or nothing. Items are put into a pot and when the dreidel is spun, if it lands on Gimel, the player receives all the items in the pot. However, if it lands on Nun, the player receives nothing from the pot.

According to a Town and Country article, the largest Menorah in the world lies in New York City at the Grand Army Plaza. Unlike today, gifts were not always given on Hanukkah. Instead, it used to be a tradition to give people money on Hanukkah but as Christmas evolved so did Hanukkah, and so they began giving presents on Hanukkah instead. 

Hanukkah is a big Jewish holiday, but it is not the biggest compared to other Jewish celebrations. According to the Insider website, the reason why Hanukkah is not on the same date every year is because Jewish holidays follow a lunar eclipse. The white house also holds two Hanukkah receptions every year. This year, Hanukkah started on Dec. 10, and ends on the 18th

Hanukkah is a tradition near and dear to many people around the world and it is important to shed light on what Hanukkah is all about— coming together to honor their ancestors and give thanks with their family.