Happy Hannukah

Happy Hannukah

Chag Sameach!

Despite being a relatively minor holiday, Hanukkah has become a popular festival on the Jewish Calendar among a lot of secular Jews and Jewish populations in culturally Christian countries due to its proximity to Christmas. 

Hanukkah moves based on the Jewish Calendar and this year falls between 28th November and 6th December. It marks the recovery of the Second Temple from invaders and its later restoration and rededication. As the story goes, the Jews lit a lamp to celebrate reclaiming the temple, but it only held enough oil to burn for a day. By miracle, it stayed lit for a full eight days, which Jews celebrate by lighting one of the eight candles (with a ninth central candle) on a Menorah, or Hanukkiah, every day of the festival. 

Holiday activities include singing Hanukkah songs, playing with dreidels, and eating fried, oil-based foods like latkes (potato cakes) and sufganiyot (filled donuts). Major cities around the world often host public Hanukkah celebrations. Trafalgar Square has hosted a giant Menorah several times and this year Birmingham is celebrating with a mixture of in-person and online events. 

Giving gifts is not traditional, apart from a small gift of money, but some families have adopted the practice so young children can enjoy receiving gifts when their Christian or secular peers do. 

a jewish family enjoying a meal together. a lit menorah is in the foreground.