Hanukkah for Dummies

Hanukkah for Dummies

Aidan Harmer, Staff Writer

Hanukkah will start the evening of Saturday December 24 and will end the evening of Sunday January 1, 2017.


Hanukkah celebrates two miracles:

In the 2nd century of BCE a small Jewish army known as the “Maccabees” won a battle against the mighty Greek army that took over Israel.

When the Maccabees liberated the Temple from the hands of the Greek invaders, they found a small amount of oil.  This oil miraculously burned for 8 day and nights (the creation of a menorah).


Is it Chanukah or Hanukkah?

In Hebrew, Hanukkah is spelled with the letter chet.  The pronunciation has a guttural, throaty sound—like the “ch” in Johann Bach. In English it is fine to use both Chanukah and Hanukkah (personal preference).


Why does the date differ every year?

Hanukkah starts on the twenty-fifth day of the Jewish month Kislev.  This is a totally different calendar than the one we are used to.  The Jewish calendar is based on the lunar cycle.  Hanukkah can start anywhere between November 28th and December 26th.


What are some traditional foods?

Latkes- fried potato pancakes.

Sufganiots- deep-fried jelly donuts

Challah- traditional Jewish bread


*Since the holiday is based around oil, the foods are cooked in oil.


How is Hanukkah celebrated?

Every night for eight nights another candle is added on to the ones already lit.

On Chanukah, it’s customary to give money and gifts to children, and to play dreidel games.