For those who aren’t familiar with the origins of the holiday, Chanukah is the celebration of the re-dedication of the holy temple in Jerusalem after the Jewish victory over the Syrian-Greeks in 165 B.C.E. It is celebrated for eight nights because, according to the story, the Jewish soldiers had enough oil to illuminate the menorah for one day, and it miraculously lasted for eight. For this reason, Chanukah is also known as the “Festival of Lights”.
Here are a few of the most common Chanukah traditions:
- The Menorah: Each night for the eight nights an additional candle is lit using the “worker candle” which is the center, more elevated candle on the Menorah.
- The Dreidel: In this game, people spin the dreidel (which has Hebrew letters on each of the four sides) with hopes of winning gelt (chocolate coins).
- Fried foods: Since Chanukah celebrates the miracle of the oil that burned for eight days instead of just one, foods that are cooked in oil are especially popular for this holiday. One such food is potato pancakes, or “latkes”. These are made with potatoes, onion and either matzah (unleavened bread) or breadcrumbs. Many people eat this dish with applesauce or sour cream on top. Another fried Chanukah dish is called “Sufganiyot”, or jelly-filled doughnuts.
Happy Chanukah to our Jewish friends, employees and customers!