What is Hanukkah and Why it is celebrated?

Origins of Hanukkah

Hanukkah is the eight-day celebration widely known as the festival of lights. This Jewish celebration commemorates the miracle of light that occurred when a vial of oil, just enough to light the temple’s menorah for one day, burned for eight days. The miracle became the foundation of the beloved holiday to celebrate the victory of light over darkness. The holiday is celebrated with the lighting of the menorah, traditional foods such as latkes and sufganiyot, dreidel games, and gifts.

How Hanukkah is Celebrated

The Hanukkah celebration includes the lighting of a nine-branched menorah, known in Hebrew as the hanukkiah. On each of the eight nights, another candle is added to the hanukkiah after sundown, with the ninth candle, called the shamash (helper), used to light the others. Jews typically sing blessings during this lighting of the candles and display the menorah prominently in a window as a reminder to others of the miracle that inspired the holiday. Traditional Hanukkah foods are fried in oil, like potato pancakes (latkes), and jam-filled donuts (sufganiyot) are particularly popular for many Jewish households. Other customs include playing with four-sided spinning tops called dreidels and exchanging gifts. This year Hanukkah begins the evening of December 18 and ends the evening of December 26, 2022.

More Resources for Understanding Hanukkah

History of Hanukkah https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/hanukkah