Hanukkah, which means “dedication,” commemorates the rededication of the Second Jewish Temple in 165 B.C. The rededication of the temple involved lighting of the oil lamps; however, they had only enough oil to light the Temple's candelabrum for one day. But miraculously, the oil continued to burn for a total of eight days. That is why Hanukkah has always been celebrated for eight nights.
During Hanukkah, Jews light the menorah, a special nine-branched candelabrum, by adding one candle each night until all eight candles are lit while reciting prayers. The ninth candle sits in the middle and is larger than the rest. This candle is used to light the others.
They also play the dreidel game, exchange gifts, and enjoy traditional foods like latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly-filled doughnuts).
Hanukkah represents the triumph of light over darkness, hope over despair, and freedom over oppression, making it a joyous and festive celebration for Jewish communities around the world.
Classic Potato Latke Recipe
The Dreidel Song
This year, Hanukkah begins at sundown on Thursday, Dec. 7, and finishes at sundown on Friday, Dec. 15.