Hanukkah, or Chanukah, is the “festival of lights” for Jewish people around the world. It is a celebration that lasts eight days and starts at sundown.
Hanukkah means “dedication” in Hebrew, according to The Associated Press.
What is the purpose of Hanukkah?
Hanukkah celebrates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem back in the 2nd century BC, the AP reported. It was after a group of Jewish fighters liberated the temple. When they did, a small supply of oil was found and they used it to light a menorah. The oil kept burning in the menorah for eight days which is why the holiday lasts eight days.
When is Hanukkah 2023?
Hanukkah this year will be celebrated from Dec. 7 to Dec. 15, according to the AP. It will start on Dec. 7 at sundown.
It starts on the 25th day of Kislev which is the ninth month of the Jewish calendar, according to the Indianapolis Star.
The holiday is usually between mid-November and the end of December. It varies from year to year.
How is Hanukkah celebrated?
Hanukkah is celebrated every night by lighting the candles from right to left on a menorah, according to the AP. The lighting of the candles is done while chanting special blessings.
The menorah is built with eight branches - one for each night of Hanukkah. There is a place for a ninth candle that is called the shamash and that one is used to light the other candles.
For Hanukkah, most food is cooked or fried in oil, according to Chabad. That includes the potato pancakes which are called Latkes that are covered with applesauce or sour cream, and jelly-filled doughnuts called Sufganya.
Dreidel is a game that many play. A dreidel is a four-sided top with Hebrew letters on it. Those letters, according to Chabad, are nun, gimmel, hei and shin. Those letters stand for “nes gadol hayah sham” which means “a great miracle happened there.” The top is spun during the game.
The game is usually played with coins or gelt, nuts or other items. Gelt are chocolate coins. The letters values are:
Nun = none
Gimmel = take all
Hei = take half
Shin = put half back