Hanukkah (alternately spelled, Hannukah, Hannukkah, Chanukah, Channukah and probably even much more variations) starts on Dec. 6 this year. The eight day festival continues through Dec. 14.

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Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday that celebrates the re-dedication that the holy place in Jerusalem adhering to a successful revolt against the Seleucid Empire roughly 160 BCE.

The story goes that when the temple's candles were re-lit, there was only sufficient oil to critical one day. Miraculously, the oil lasted for eight days, permitting enough time for more oil to be secured and ensuring that the candles remain lit.

Not in a religious sense. The major holy work of the Jewish calendar occur a bit earlier in the year: Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish new Year) beginning the High divine Days, which leads right into Yom Kippur, the day of atonement.

Hanukkah's position on the calendar generally places it in between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and so becomes component of a an ext secular and also Christian bicycle of celebrations which us all normally refer to together "the holidays." In modern times, Hanukkah additionally symbolizes Jewish resilience, with obvious parallels come ongoing problems in the middle East. In north America, the is also symbolic the a higher Jewish identity. Therefore while that isn't a major holiday in a religious sense, it's definitely important in a cultural sense.

How is Hanukkah celebrated?

Over the eight nights that Hanukkah, practicing family members will light candles top top a menorah, symbolizing the initial candles lit in ~ the temple. One candle is lit top top each succeeding night until all space lit. Every of the eight is lit from a separate, extra candle, called shamash in Hebrew. Unique blessings are stated over the candles, and also they are frequently left burning at least an hour after sundown. The hymn Ma'oz Tzur is also usually sung.

As oil is one integral part of the Hanukkah story, fried food, particularly potato pancakes referred to as latkes, are frequently component of meals. Prayer services and blessings after ~ meals space also part of the celebration, together is the legacy of giving small gifts (generally toys, candy or money, called Hanukkah Gelt in Yiddish) to children each night that the holiday. One together toy is typically the dreidel.

What is a dreidel?

Dreidels are little four-sided tops, with each next bearing one Hebrew letter: Nun, Gimel, Hey and Shim. The letters represent the words Nes Gadol Haya Sham, which equates to "A an excellent miracle taken place there," referring to the miracle at the temple.

Playing the timeless game with the dreidel contains players taking turns spinning, through each side signifying they either take some of that Hanukkah Gelt from a main pot, or have to offer some up.

Why are there so plenty of different means to spell of Hanukkah?

Translating words indigenous Hebrew come English isn't always simple, as Hebrew has some sound - an especially the sounds in between an "H" and also a "CH" at the beginning of the word - the English doesn't. There's additionally the fact that old Hebrew is spoken slightly in different ways than modern Hebrew.

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