Hanukkah Quick Facts - US

AKA NameFestival of lights
HashtagsCompiled on#Hanukkah
Related Hashtags#Chanukah, #HappyHanukkah
2023 DateDecember 7, 2023
2024 DateDecember 25, 2024


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Hanukkah (Hebrew: חנוכה), also known as Chanukah, is an eight-day Jewish festival that commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem following the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire. The festival is observed by lighting the menorah, a unique nine-branched candelabrum, with one additional candle lit each night. Other significant aspects of Hanukkah include the recitation of prayers and blessings, singing traditional songs, and indulging in foods fried in oil, such as latkes and sufganiyot, to remember the miracle of the oil that lasted eight days when there was only enough for one.

The origin of Hanukkah can be traced back to 164 BCE, when the Maccabees, led by Judah Maccabee, defeated the Seleucid king Antiochus IV and liberated the temple in Jerusalem. In America, Hanukkah holds special significance due to its proximity to the holiday season. It provides an opportunity for Jewish families to come together and celebrate their heritage during a time when many other cultural and religious festivities take place. Additionally, it serves as an important reminder of the story of the Jewish people's resilience and the power of light over darkness.

In the United States, Hanukkah is observed similarly to other parts of the world with some unique American twists. Families gather to light the menorah, exchange gifts, and participate in community events. Dreidel, a spinning top game, is played by both children and adults as a fun and educational activity to understand the historical events behind the festival. The specific dates for Hanukkah vary each year, as it is determined by the Hebrew lunar calendar, but it generally falls between late November and late December.

Top X Posts (formerly Tweets) for Hanukkah -


Hanukkah facts

  • It is customary to eat fried foods on Chanukkah because of the significance of oil to the holiday. Among Ashkenazic Jews, this usually includes latkes (potato pancakes fried in oil) and doughnuts.
  • A popular game during Hanukkah is dreidel. The dreidel is a four-sided spinning top with one Hebrew letter inscribed on each face/side. These letters are Nun (like N), Gimel (like G), Hei (Like H) and Shin (like Sh). These letters stand for the Hebrew phrase Nes Gadol Hayah Sham, a great miracle happened there, referring to the miracle of the oil.
  • There is a special prayer called for the Miracles said during all prayer sessions and grace after meals. In this prayer the Lord is thanked for allowing the Jewish minority to overcome their much larger and stronger enemies (a recurrent theme in Jewish survival).
  • Chanukkah is not one of the Biblical festivals and Jews are permitted to work on Chanukkah.

Top things to do in the US for Hanukkah

  • Play a dreidel game, which consists of spinning a special four-sided block with Hebrew letters. Once you're out of game pieces, you can either get a loan or you're out until one person collects all of the game pieces.
  • Make latkes and donuts at home. Many recipes can be found online.
  • An event that gathers much attention is the White House Hanukkah Party. Watch it on TV (some parts are broadcast) or YouTube.
  • Listen to a special song is sung after the lighting of the candles, called Maoz Zur, 'the Rock of our Salvation'. Many renditions of it can be found on YouTube.

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