How to Observe the First Night of Hanukkah

For many Jewish families, the first night of Hanukkah is the most important one. The first night of Hanukkah opens the entire eight-day celebration. Celebrate the first night of Hanukkah by preparing Jewish traditional foods, lighting the Hanukkah menorah, saying special prayers, and exchanging gifts. Jewish games like the dreidel and the Hanukkah gelt hunt are also played during the holiday.

  • Clean the house and spread the spirit of the holiday by decorating it with Hanukkah decorations.
  • Clean your menorah and fill it with candles. Fill eight candles for the eight nights of Hanukkah and one shamash candle. Put the menorah on the window to illuminate the miracle of the oil which burned for eight days.
  • Gather the family around the menorah after sundown. Using the shamash, light the first Hanukkah candle. Say all the Hanukkah blessings on the first night.
  • Prepare a festive meal for the family. Include traditional Jewish recipes like latkes, sufganiyot, blintzes and other fried foods. Serve it together with other Jewish foods.
  • Children love stories so narrate the story of Hanukkah – the Maccabees and the miracle of the oil light that lasted for eight days.
  • Play the dreidel and sing Hanukkah songs.
  • Give the kids Hanukkah gelt.
  • Give gifts to poor children or donate to your favorite charity.

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