Hanukkah Celebrations Around the World


Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is a significant Jewish holiday celebrated globally, commemorating the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem during the Maccabean Revolt against Greek rule in the 2nd century BCE. Lasting eight days, Hanukkah holds a special place in Jewish tradition, marked by various customs and festivities observed by Jewish communities worldwide.

Lighting the Menorah

One of the central customs during Hanukkah is the lighting of the menorah, a nine-branched candelabrum. Each night, families gather to light the menorah, adding one candle for each day of the festival, using the ninth candle, the “shamash” or servant candle, to light the others. This symbolic act commemorates the miracle of the menorah in the Second Temple, where a single day’s worth of oil lasted for eight days.

Delicious Treats

Delectable foods play a significant role in Hanukkah celebrations. Traditionally, dishes cooked in oil, such as potato pancakes (latkes) and jelly-filled doughnuts (sufganiyot), are prepared and enjoyed during this festive period. These items symbolize the significance of oil in the Hanukkah story.

Spinning the Dreidel

The dreidel, a four-sided spinning top inscribed with Hebrew letters, is a popular Hanukkah game among children and adults alike. Players spin the dreidel, following rules that determine whether to give or take coins or sweets from a communal pot. The game serves as a playful reminder of the historic defiance of Jewish practices during the time of the Maccabees.

Global Celebrations

Around the world, Hanukkah is celebrated with unique regional customs while retaining the core traditions. In Israel, festive public menorah lightings take place in major cities, attracting locals and tourists alike. Jewish communities in various countries participate in public menorah lightings, communal gatherings, and cultural events, fostering a sense of unity and festivity.

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