Hanukkah Traditions

A Closer Look at the Festival of Light


Element5 Digital

To show how the menorah looks after being lit, this menorah shows what it looks like after all 8 days of Hanukkah have occurred.

The room is brightly lit as families across the work celebrate Hanukkah, a holiday that the Jewish people celebrate in the month of December. This holiday lasts eight days, and there are many traditions that people participate in during this time, ranging from food to games to lighting the menorah every night for eight days. This holiday is significant to Jewish people because it embraces the religion and symbolizes dedication. Hanukkah is celebrated to show the miracle representing this holiday and how people should be grateful for the light they are gifted in their lives. Hanukkah is also referred to as the Festival of Lights celebrating the miracle that took place many years ago.

The first tradition that Jewish people participate in is eating potato pancakes (latkes), jelly donuts, and Chinese food on Christmas. All these foods are explicitly eaten during Hanukkah but can be eaten anytime during the year. Jewish people make their food homemade for their families to enjoy. It is much more traditional to make homemade food than just buying it at the store. People eat Chinese food on Christmas to celebrate Christmas as a “Jewish Christmas.” This celebration has been a tradition for over 100 years, and Jewish people continue it to this day. There are also Hebrew prayers that are spoken in Hebrew that families say before they eat to show their thankfulness toward the food that is provided to them.

Dinner is the best way to finish off your day, potato latkes are a great asset to people’s dinner during this Jewish Holiday.

Another tradition that people of this religion engage in is lighting the menorah every night of Hanukkah for eight nights. When the Jewish people went to rededicate the Temple, they only had enough oil to burn the candles on the menorah for one day. However, the flames miraculously lasted for eight whole days. As a result, the menorah is lit every night for eight nights to symbolize the miracle of Hanukkah. Years ago, there wasn’t light, so Jewish people in Jerusalem used a menorah that lasted eight nights. This is what the eight days symbolize in this holiday.

Have you ever played the game dreidel? This game is very popular during this season. Spinning the dreidel is a traditional game that is played during the Hanukkah holiday. The dreidel is a four-sided spinning top that is made out of clay and has Hebrew letters on each side. It is generally a children’s game that is very popular among Jewish families. Children usually play this game for chocolate coins called gelt and the goal is to see who can win the most overall. Lastly, another Hanukkah tradition is making different objects out of clay. This is a tradition that both adults and kids participate in. People make things from dreidels to combs with fun, colorful clay. Kids also make these in Jewish preschools to embrace their religion.

To add more fun to the night during the 8 days of Hanukkah, dreidels are a good way to have fun and help you win prizes like chocolate coins or even money.

All of these traditions symbolize thankfulness and how much of a miracle it is to have all of the necessities in your life that are valuable to you and your family. There are many other traditions during Hanukkah, but these traditions are the most important and well-known in the Jewish community. Many people celebrate this holiday worldwide, which is a very symbolic holiday for Jewish people who care about their religion.