You may have seen rows of candles burning in large holders this past week and wondered what’s going on. We’ve been celebrating a Jewish holiday called Hanukkah. It celebrates a time about 2,500 years ago when the Jewish people reclaimed a temple that was destroyed by the Syrians. They only had enough oil to light the temple for one day, but by a miracle, the oil lasted for eight days until more oil could be made.
Therefore, we call Hanukkah the Festival of Lights, and it lasts for eight nights. We celebrate by lighting a menorah (the candleholder in the picture above) for eight nights, adding one candle each night. In the United States and elsewhere, children also receive one present for every night of Hanukkah. There is also a popular Hanukkah game called ‘Dreidel’. It’s a simple but fun game to play during this holiday.
Like any Jewish holiday, food is a very important part of the holiday. Popular dishes include potato latkes (fried potato pancakes) served with sour cream or apple sauce, and doughnuts. Since the holiday is about having a lot of oil, it’s customary to cook anything that requires oil! Yum!
Hanukkah began on November 27 and ends Dec 5.
Now you can wish your friends a Happy Hanukkah! (Before it’s too late!)
By Jamey Sadownick