This year, Hanukkah will be celebrated starting on sunset of 2 December until nightfall of 10 December. Hanukkah, which is also known as Festival of Lights and the Feast of Dedication, is a Jewish celebration that commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem during Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire.
Hanukkah will be celebrated by kindling the lights of the nine-branch Chanukiah or menorah. Chanukiah consisted of eight branches with a visually distinct branch called shamash, and ach night, each branches of Chanukiah will be lighted. When lighting a Chanukiah, blessings are recited and shamash will be lighted first, then used to light the other branches. Chanukiah is commonly lighted at sundown, and usually placed at a prominent window or near the door leading to the street, so passerby could see it. There, the lights will be left to burn for at least half an hour.
Hanukkah is also celebrated by singing Hanukkah songs, playing dreidel, the four-sided spinning top, and exchanging gifts each night, such as books, games or Hanukkah gelt for children. Children are also encouraged to give tzedakah or charity. Food that is fried or baked in oil will be eaten, such as jelly doughnuts called sufganiyot and levivot (latkes), to commemorate the importance of oil during the celebration of Hanukkah.
If you do not celebrate Hanukkah but know someone who celebrates it, you could still share the spirit by giving him or her Hanukkah gelt or gifts. Who knows, maybe he or she will afterwards share you their tasty sufganiyot or levivot!
What about you? Tell us your favorite Hanukkah activity, or share your most memorable Hanukkah celebration!