All around the world, adults and children are celebrating Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Light this week. The religious holiday is celebrated globally from Jerusalem to London and Washington to Moscow.
Hanukkah is the eight-day Jewish festival also known as the Festival of Lights. The festival celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, of spirituality over materiality and of purity over adulteration. Jews observe the festival by lighting one candle on a nine-branched menorah each day.
When is Hanukkah?
This year Hanukkah began on the evening of the 6th December and ends on the evening of Monday December 14th. The Jewish festival is observed for eight days and nights, commencing on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, this can occur at any time between late November to late December.
What is Hanukkah?
Hanukkah, reminds Jews of a time over 2,500 years ago when the Jews won a battle against the Greeks to practise their religion freely. During the Greeks oppression all Jewish rituals were banned. To celebrate this win an oil lamp was lit in a Jewish temple, with only enough oil to burn for one day, however miraculously the lamp continued to burn for eight days.
To commemorate these miracles, at the heart of the eight day Hanukkah festival is the nightly lighting of the menorah.
How is Hanukkah Celebrated?
The Festival traditionally involves candles, doughnuts and presents, it has in recent years also become a major occasion for parties and gifts. Hanukkah is also observed through the lighting of a menorah, a nine-branched candle, that represents each night of the festival with an additional light called a shamash. During the lighting of the menorah each night families sing or say a short prayer known as Ma’oz Tzur.
This Jewish holiday is particularly fun for children who are often given small presents on each night of the festival. Other festivities include playing with dreidels, that are spinning tops with distinctive Hebrew letters on each side.
During Hanukkah, it is tradition to eat fried foods to commemorate the miracle associated with the Temple oil 2,500 years ago. Deep fried jam or custard filled doughnuts, knows as Sufganiyot, as well as latkes, that are similar to hash browns, are customarily eaten.
Are you celebrating Hanukkah this year? Whether you are celebrating anywhere in the world, ensure that you use DialAbroad to stay connected to your loved ones during the Jewish Festival of Lights.