While Hanukkah sometimes does occur in the month of December, it is not comparable to a “Jewish Christmas”. Hanukkah is a celebration of a successful revolution of the Maccabees (Jewish warriors around 100 B.C.E.) in opposition to their Syrian-Greek oppressors. It is a religiously significant event with many Hanukkah traditions observed by many Jews around the world.
Lighting the Menorah
The lighting of the menorah is one of the most important Hanukkah traditions. The menorah is a nine-branched candelabra which signifies the eight days of Hanukkah with the center pillar being the place to hold the shamash, the candle to light the others. A new candle is lit on each day followed by a prayer and more commemorative activities amongst families and loved ones.
You may have seen the familiar four-faced spinning top adorned with Hebrew characters. The participation of the game as a Hanukkah tradition originates back to the revolutionary period when Jews were banned from practicing and studying the Torah. To conceal what they were doing, they would take out the little dreidels and claim they were playing with them. Nowadays, the game of dreidel is enjoyed by both adults and kids alike.
A relatively new Hanukkah tradition, friends and families may exchange small Hanukkah gifts amongst each other in celebration of the holiday. Traditionally, gelt (either real coins or chocolate coins) was the only present given at Hanukkah. Nowadays, there are a variety of gifts on the market. Hanukkah gift baskets are always good options as they often include a variety of goodies. Check out Kosherline’s collection of kosher Hanukkah gift baskets filled with a variety of delicious Kosher foods and wine that can be enjoyed by everyone.