Hanukkah Gift Giving
Hanukkah gets a lot of attention, and has become so centered and almost focused around gifts. Many Jews have expanded the gelt giving tradition to a gift giving tradition, especially because of its timing and proximity around Christmas season. Gift giving is a well kept tradition in Christmas and celebrating it without gifts is like eating cake without icing. What about Hanukkah? Are gifts traditionally given in celebration of this festival?
The answer to that question is, YES, Hanukkah was a traditional time of giving, but in a different way than how it is being celebrated today. Past generations emphasizes that gift giving is in a form of Hanukkah gelt (Yiddish for “money”) that served as a reward to children for learning and knowing all about the history of the holiday. As a test, they were asked questions about the history of Hanukkah and also other things related with the festival, the more correct answers they got, the more rewards they receive.
Slowly, with time, gift giving became the modern counterpart of the handing out of Hanukkah gelts. Adults, like the Young children participate in this joyous celebration whole-heartedly and with lots of anticipation thus, gift giving in the celebration of the festival of lights are no longer just for children but for everyone who wants to celebrate the freedom that they have today. This tradition brings people close to each other and enables them to spend precious moments with the people they love.
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