All About Hanuka

Mar/22/2022 / by Melanie Fourie
Image credits: Hanukkah via Pexels

For eight nights in November or December, Jews celebrate Hanukkah, a Jewish festival. However, the rich history and customs associated with the “Festival of Lights,” an annual celebration, may be unknown to many.

When was Hanuka 2021?

Kislev 25, or November-December in the Hebrew calendar, is the start of Hanukkah. According to the commonly used Gregorian calendar, this day changes each year.
Hanukkah 2021 started on the 28th of November and finished on the 6th of December.

What  is Hanuka Specifically?

Hanukkah, or the ‘Festival of Lights,’ is probably the happiest  Jewish holiday. It is a celebration of a remarkable event that took place in Jerusalem more than two thousand years ago. It took place after the Maccabees, or opposition fighters, were successful in leading a successful insurrection for the freedom to practice their faith.

An epic struggle that lasted three years was waged. Retaking Jerusalem and defeating Antiochus were finally possible after the Maccabees won the war. His goal before the revolt was to persuade Jews to worship him as opposed to God, which was contrary to their faith.

Symbolism and Traditions Attached to Hanuka

The Yiddish word “latke,” which means “pancake,” is pronounced lot-kuhs. On Hanukkah, these potato pancakes cooked in oil are served in Ashkenazi Jewish households as a representation of the wonder of oil. Sour cream and  a Applesauce  are traditional accompaniments to latkes.

Sufganiyot, or jelly-filled doughnuts, are a traditional Hanukkah treat in Israel and across the globe. Sugar-dusted donuts are cooked in oil to symbolize the remarkable properties of oil. 

Lighting the Menorah 

It is customary to light the menorah at sunset every evening (except on Shabbat, when you should light the menorah before sundown). To “publicize the miracle” of Hanukkah, the menorah is often placed near a window, where it may be seen by passersby. Put a candle to the right of the menorah on the initial night of the holiday. Restate the Hanukkah blessings while lighting the shamash (see below). Using the shamash, light the initial candle with the shamash, then put the shamash in its case. After that, the candles should go out on their own after a minimum of half an hour of burning.

Hanuka Gifting 

Purim used to be the sole occasion on which American Jews exchanged presents, but this changed in the late 19th century. When Christmas became a public holiday in America In the late 19th century, the significance of the celebration was amplified. Jewish traditions evolved in imitation of the Christian holiday’s growing commercialism.

Ideas for Gifts 

It’s possible to acquire or make your own Star of David Coasters using basic wall tiles, a template, some sealant, and paint. Menorah candles are a lovely option to burn in the family’s Hanukkah Menorah. There are also a variety of unique and humorous kitchen aprons available for those who spend a lot of time in the kitchen during the holidays. It’s also a terrific idea to give a Hanukkah Menorah candle or a dreidle that was created in Israel.


What is older – Hanuka or Christmas?

About six centuries before Christmas, the Hebrews celebrated Hanukkah to commemorate their triumph over the Macedonian-Greek occupying forces in Jerusalem and the subsequent liberation of the city. So, Hanuka is indeed older than Christmas.