8 Facts About Hanukkah

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What to know about Hanukkah? Here are the facts:

  1. The guttural sound used to pronounce Hanukkah cannot be represented in the English alphabet. That is why there are so many different spellings. All are acceptable.
  2. The word Hanukkah means dedication. It refers to the re - dedication of the temple after the Maccabees re - captured it from the Greeks.
  3. As part of that re - dedication, an oil lamp was lit. There was enough oil to last only one day, but miraculously, it lasted eight. For this reason, the Hanukkah celebration lasts for eight days.
  4. Today a menorah (a candle stick holding eight candles and an additional "helper" candle called a shamash) is lit every day of the eight day Hanukkah celebration.
  5. Throughout the eight day celebration, a menorah will burn through 44 candles. On the first night one candle is lit, then two the second night, three the third and so on.
  6. Over 17 million oily donuts, called sufganiyot, are eaten in Israel every year during the eight day Hanukkah celebration. It commemorates the miracle of the oil.
  7. Spinning a dreidel was done by students illegally studying the Torah. When Greek soldiers made surprise raids, the students pulled out dreidels and pretended to be gambling.
  8. To help them learn about charity, children receive gelt (the Yiddish word for money) as part of the Hanukkah celebration.