Hanukkah Quick Facts - IL

AKA NameFestival of lights
HashtagsCompiled on#Hanukkah
Related Hashtags#Chanukah, #HappyHanukkah
2023 Date7 December 2023
2024 Date25 December 2024


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Hanukkah, also known as Chanukah, is an eight-day Jewish holiday celebrating the miracle of the oil that took place in the Second Temple of Jerusalem. It commemorates the victory of the Maccabees, a small group of Jewish rebels, over the oppressive Seleucid Greek king Antiochus IV. The observance of Hanukkah holds great importance in the Jewish faith as it signifies the triumph of light over darkness, of purity over defilement, and of spirituality over materialism. During this time, traditions such as lighting the menorah, playing the dreidel game, and enjoying festive foods are practiced to honor and remember the history behind the holiday.

The history of Hanukkah dates back to the 2nd century BCE when the Jewish people in Israel fought against the oppression of the Seleucid Empire. The story of the Maccabean revolt represents the struggle of the Jews to preserve their religious and cultural identity amidst external pressures. The miracle of the oil, in which a one-day supply of oil lasted for eight days when the Maccabees rededicated the Second Temple, serves as a powerful symbol of hope and divine intervention during the darkest of times. For Israelis, Hanukkah serves as a reminder of the strength and courage of their ancestors in the face of adversity.

In Israel, Hanukkah is observed with great enthusiasm as it encapsulates national pride and promotes unity among the diverse population. Symbolic customs such as lighting the menorah in homes and public spaces, indulging in foods fried in oil (like sufganiyot and latkes), and participating in lively songs and dances are practiced across the nation. Furthermore, it is an opportunity for Israelis to express gratitude for the miracle of the reestablishment of an independent Jewish state in the ancestral homeland. Hanukkah in Israel takes place at the same time as it occurs internationally, in the Hebrew month of Kislev, usually corresponding with December in the Gregorian calendar.

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.
  • In Israel, it is common for children to receive "Hanukkah gelt" (money or chocolate coins) from their parents or grandparents during the holiday. This tradition is meant to teach children about charity, as they are encouraged to give a portion of their gelt to those in need.
  • A popular Hanukkah game is dreidel, played using a spinning top with four Hebrew letters. The letters represent the phrase "A great miracle happened there." In Israel, the phrase is slightly different, with the dreidel reading "A great miracle happened here" (in Hebrew, "Nes Gadol Haya Po").

Top things to do in Israel 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.
  • Hanukkah is also a time for giving back. Many organizations and communities organize volunteer activities during this period. You can participate by helping distribute food to the needy, visiting the elderly, or engaging in other charitable initiatives.
  • Dreidel, a traditional spinning top game, is played during Hanukkah. Joining or organizing dreidel tournaments is a fun way to celebrate and connect with others during the holiday. These tournaments often take place in community centers or schools.

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