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The Rocket Flame

Traditions of Hanukkah

Hannah Kimmel, staff

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A growing holiday in the United States is Hanukkah. This holiday lasts for eight days.  and has six key components. The holiday is centered around the lighting of a menorah, foods prepared in oil, special songs, games, and gift exchanges.

 

An article Better Homes and Gardens states “The centerpiece of the Hanukkah celebration is the hanukkiah, also known as the menorah.”

 

The menorah holds nine candles. The center one is lit first and then is used to light the other eight candles. The eight candles represent the number of days celebrated during Hanukkah. When lighting the menorah,  the candles are lit from the left to the right. After the menorah is lit, it is typically displayed in the window of the Jewish home for everyone to see. Before candles, the menorah used to be lit with olive oil.

 

“The miracle of the oil lasting eight days is not only celebrated through the lighting of the menorah, but also in the traditional foods that are eaten. The author Brynn Holland states two of the most popular dishes, latkes and sufganiyot

 

The two main foods prepared for the Jewish holiday are called latkes and sufganiyot, states the The latkes are basically a potato pancake which are made by grated potatoes with eggs to form a batter. It is then poured onto a skillet where it is fried in oil. The other dish sufganiyot are a lot like jelly doughnuts. This is made by baking dough and inserting jelly into it, and topping it off with powdered sugar.  

 

Hanukkah comes with its own set of carols that are sung within the household, to represent the meaning of their religion. Some songs include “On Chanukah, Sevivon,” “Mi Y’malel,” and one of the most famous, “I Have a Little Dreidel.” The carol “I Have a Little Dreidel” is so prominent because it is the song that is sung when playing the game dreidel.

 

The game dreidel is almost like a gambling game. First the dreidel has four sides and each side has a hebrew letter on it. Any number of people are able to play. Each player is required to have the same amount of game pieces, things that can be used as game pieces are coins, raisin, and chocolate. Then someone spins the dreidel and depending on which side the dreidel lands on then each player has to either give or take a piece. The player who has the all game pieces first wins.

 

The author Natasha Rosenstock states that Hanukkah gifts were not traditionally a part of the holiday, however it has become a huge tradition to get a gift each day.

 

Since Hanukkah consists of eight days, each day a present is given from the parents to the children. Presents include puzzles, games, clothing, candy, and coins. Presents are given to keep the tradition of Hanukkah going and  to spend time with the family.

 

Hanukkah has so many traditions from the lighting of the menorah, the food that is prepared, songs that are sung, games that are played, and the gifts that are exchanged.

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