Hanukkah Traditions

(Challah Connection, 2019)

Possibly the most important Hanukkah tradition is lighting the menorah. Eight of the candles represent how many days the rededicated temple’s lantern burned. The last candle is a “helper” candle that assists in lighting the others. One of the other most significant traditions during Hanukkah is the dreidel game. It is a four-sided top-like toy with symbols on each side. The symbols represent a letter of the Jewish alphabet. They were to describe a gambling game in which each symbol says something to do with money. For example,

(Getty Images, 2019)

“Nun” means nothing, and “Shin” means to put in. One fun fact about the dreidel is that Jeffrey A. Hoffman, the first Jewish male astronaut for NASA, spun a dreidel in space for an hour. Another Hanukkah tradition is eating gelt. Gelt is a form of currency; however, for Hanukkah, it is represented as chocolate coins with Jewish symbols imprinted on them, such as the Star of David or the menorah. It was initially a tip for Jewish workers at the end of the year in Eastern Europe. As members of the Jewish religion moved into cities and towns, it transformed from the tip to the chocolaty treat. During Hanukkah, members of the Jewish faith don’t only eat gelt; they eat a metric ton of delicious food every day. Some of these foods include latkes, Sufganiyot (jelly-filled doughnuts), and juicy beef brisket. One last Hanukkah tradition is classic gifts. Unlike Christmas, during Hanukkah, you receive one gift for each of the eight days. Usually, day one is for traditional items, day two is a game, day three is a couple of books, day four is a clothing item, day five is a handmade item, day six is a dead see product, day seven is a family gift, and day eight is for your favorite things. No matter what holiday you are celebrating, be sure to have a happy holidays!

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