How to Observe Hanukkah Traditions

Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights has a number of traditions observed by Jews. These traditions add more meaning to the celebration of Hanukkah.

  • A Menorah is lit on every night of Hanukkah in remembrance of the ancient Jews’ victory over the Syrians. Light the Shamash (center candle) on the first night of Hanukkah. Using the Shamash, light the first candle at the far left of the Menorah. Continue doing this till the 8th day of Hanukkah.
  • Dreidel is a popular Hanukkah game. It is a four-sided spinning top with Hebrew texts written on each side. A person spins a dreidel and takes or give away some gelt (chocolates shaped as coins and wrapped in tin foil).
  • Eating fried food and dairy food during Hanukkah is part of Jewish custom. Fried foods serve as reminder of the miracle of the oil that burned for eight days when the Jews rededicated the holy temple in Jerusalem. Latkes or potato pancake is present in every family’s Hanukkah table.  Sufganiyot is also a popular dish during Hanukkah. Sufganiyot are donuts filled with jelly and dusted with sugar or cinnamon.
  • Give gifts. This tradition started from the gelt-giving tradition of Jews. Shop for Judaic products like Jewish books or kosher items. You can also give baked goodies or candies. Another way to share the Hanukkah blessing is to send cards to your loved ones.
  • Celebrate Hanukkah with your family and friends.  Hanukkah traditions are more meaningful when observed with the people you love the most.

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