8 Interesting Hanukkah Facts

Learn some new Hanukkah facts as we get ready for the “festival of lights”! Hanukkah is celebrated with special prayers, and of course, the lighting of the menorah. The word Hanukkah means “dedication” which denotes the re-dedication of the Holy Temple and is celebrated by the end of the year when days are short in the northern hemisphere.

Did you know?

1.     History behind the 8 Days of Hanukkah:

The festival commemorates the re-dedication of the Second Temple that took place during the Second Century BCE. An army of Jews (named Maccabees) reclaimed the Temple in Jerusalem, which had been converted into a pagan shrine by the Greek King Antiochus IV Epiphanes. The Maccabees then built a new altar but found that the Temple’s Menorah had just enough oil to be lit for 1 day. Miraculously, it burned for 8 days. Hanukkah is celebrated for 8 days in commemoration of this miracle.

2.     The date changes every year:

The 25th day of Jewish month of Kislev marks the beginning of Hanukkah. Each year, the festival starts anywhere between November 28th and December 26th and every Jewish home has a Jewish calendar to determine when it will fall out exactly.

3.     The Importance of Light:

Each day of Hanukkah one candle is added until all of the 8 candles are lit. The menorah used during the festival is called “Hanukiah” with 8 candle holders and a 9th Shamash, which is the main candle that lights the others. 

4. Record Breaking Menorahs:

The world’s two largest menorahs are in Manhattan and Brooklyn, New York, both standing tall at 32 feet (the maximum allowed height for a Menorah under Jewish law).

5.     You can win chocolate coins (‘Gelt’) at the traditional Hanukkah game with a dreidel.

And if you are lucky, you can even win real coins!

6.     It’s a time of gift giving!

The name Hanukkah comes from the Hebrew l’chanech or chinuch, which means “to mold” or “to educate.” By spreading joy and giving gifts of money the gifts are meant to highlight how light triumphed over dark and how the spirit of giving lights up the lives around us.

7.     Hanukkah is also a time of eating lots of fried food!

As per records, about 17.5 million donuts are consumed just in Israel in the 8 days of Hanukkah! Of course, the latkes (potato pancakes) feature a close second! Sweet cream-cheese rugelach, honey dipping fried apple fritters, and cheese blintzes are some other festive favorites.

8.     Hanukkah is celebrated at the White House.

Although the US has never had a Jewish President, this festival is celebrated at the White House in Washington. Bill Gates was the first President to light the Menorah at the White House in 1993.

Looking for the perfect Hanukkah gift? Let us help you light up life with our festive collection!

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