6 Reasons Why Hanukkah Is Lit

It's time for Hanukkah! The holiday is known as the festival of lights that lasts eight nights. Hanukkah is a celebration for the Jewish people for their victory against the Greek-Syrians who had destroyed Jerusalem. The holiday is also important because the Jews were able to have their oil for the lights last eight nights instead of just one, making it a miracle. No matter how you look at it, Hanukkah is fun and festive holiday for those who celebrate it and here's why! 

1. The Lights

Photo courtesy of Courtney Shapiro

Since Hanukkah is also known as the festival of lights, there are candles burning for all eight nights. There are nine candles in total because the Shamash, or helper candle, lights each of the other candles.  When the candles are lit, they look so so pretty and calming. It creates a nice ambiance when the room is only illuminated by candles, especially on the last night when all of the candles have been lit. The candles are left to burn until they wear out, leaving the glow to last a few days.

 

2. The Food

The food eaten at Hanukkah is some of my favorites! During this holiday, people eat a lot of fried food to symbolize how long the oil lasted. Foods such as gelt (chocolate coins), sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts), and latkes (potato pancakes) are staples during this time of year. My personal favorite is latkes, especially the ones my mom makes. If you haven't tried these foods yet, I highly recommend it.

 

3. The Presents

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Who doesn't love presents? When celebrating Hanukkah, the tradition is to receive a present each night. Families may give seven small gifts and one big one, eight small gifts, or one big gift that fulfills all eight nights. In my family, we opened presents by family members. One night we would open a gift from one specific person, and open something from a different person on the next.

 

4. The Decorations

Besides the beautiful light, Hanukkah is a great holiday for decorations. Many people will decorate their homes with blue and silver to show that it's Hanukkah. The color combination makes a home look so festive. People also tend to keep menorahs in their windows, giving others the opportunity to see the candles glowing. 

 

5. Playing Dreidel

Photo by My Jewish Learning

Playing dreidel is a necessity during Hanukkah. Most of the time it is played with candy, but sometimes people use money to make things more interesting. There are four sides to the dreidel and each side has a Hebrew letter symbolizing a rule of the game. When you spin, there are four options: you could take the whole pot, take half the pot, put something back in the pot, or get nothing. The game is super fun, and can really get competitive!

 

6. The Apparel

Photo courtesy of Courtney Shapiro

Sure, everyone loves ugly Christmas sweaters, but there is plenty of Hanukkah gear to go around as well! Personally, I love showcasing my Hanukkah sweaters and socks because it's fun to be in the spirit. There's a lot of funny ones on the market with menorahs, gifts, and funny Jewish sayings. If you're looking to buy one for yourself, you can check out a bunch here!

Overall, Hanukkah is a really fun holiday! I always love celebrating with friends and family. If you don't celebrate Hanukkah, don't worry you'll be able to get your latke and dreidel fix somewhere this season!

 

 

Cover Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash