We, here at ZigZag Explorer, want to wish you all a Happy Hanukkah! Hanukkah 2017 starts the evening of December 12 and ends the evening of December 20. Please take a moment with your family to share this holiday.
8 Amazing Facts About Hanukkah:
- Hanukkah or Chanukah is a an eight day celebration recognizing the victory of reconquering the Second Temple in Jerusalem. In 167 BCE, the Greek king, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, outlawed the practice of Judaism. Mattathias, a Jewish priest, and his five sons revolted. Within the war, Mattathias died and his son Judah took over leading to victory in 165 BCE. Hanukkah is celebrated to mark this event.
- 9 candles are lit on a candelabrum called a menorah.
- The menorah has one middle candle above the rest called shamash. The shamash is used to light the rest of candles.
- 8 days and candles commemorate this festival of lights. When Judah won, he cleansed the Second Temple and created a new altar. The altar needed a new menorah. However, there was only one flask with enough oil to burn for one day. That oil miraculously burned for eight days, enough time to prepare fresh supply of kosher oil.
- Dreidel is played after lighting the candle. A dreidel is a four-sided spinning top. Each side has a Hebrew letter. (N,G, H, S). This letters spell symbolize the saying Nes Gadol Haya Sham or ‘A great miracle happened there”. The miracle refers to the oil burning for eight days!
- Hanukkah gelt or Hanukkah money is given to children. The tradition goes back to the custom of children giving money to their teachers as a sign of gratitude. Today, the Hanukkah gelt is usually small coins or chocolate coins.
- Foods fried in oil (representing the holy oil in the Temple) are eating during this holiday. Potato latkes, doughnuts (sufganiyot), and briskets are some examples.
- Blue and white are colors of Hanukkah. The colors can be found on the Israeli flag. The blue also dates back to the Bible when the Israelites where told to dye their tallitot (a traditional Jewish prayer shawl) with blue ink for a sea snail. Blue represents sky, faith, wisdom, and truth. White stands for purity, peace, and light.