Hanukkah is a special holiday that celebrates the triumph of the Jewish people over their Greek-Syrian enemies in the Maccabean Revolt. For eight days and nights, Jews around the world light candles and enjoy traditional food, music, and games. If you’re new to celebrating Hanukkah or looking for fresh ideas, here are a few key items to make the most of the holiday. Many of them are available at a Judaica store.
- Hanukkah Menorah
The Hanukkah menorah, also known as the hanukkiah, is the highlight of the holiday. It’s a nine-branch candelabrum that Jews light each night of Hanukkah. The ninth candle, known as the Shamash (servant), is lit to kindle all the other candles. The eight candles symbolize the oil that miraculously burned for eight days when the Maccabees reclaimed the Holy Temple. These days menorahs come in various styles and sizes, from classic silver to modern designs. Choose one that best reflects your style, and watch it sparkle with light as you celebrate Hanukkah. Be careful not to buy the regular seven-branched candelabrum, as that has different purposes.
- Hanukkah Candles or Oil
No Hanukkah menorah is complete without candles or oil. One candle is lit on the first day of Hanukkah, two on the second, and so forth. Traditionally, Jews would use special oil for the holiday because candles were not available in ancient times. Today, you can choose between regular candles or olive oil to light the menorah. Candles are more convenient and last longer, while oil is more authentic. Visit a Judaica store to get your preferred candle or oil for your holiday celebration.
- Hanukkah Gelt
Gelt is the Yiddish word for “money,” and Hanukkah gelt refers to the chocolate coins given to kids during the holiday. After the Jews regained control of the Holy Temple, they decided to commemorate their victory by giving kids coins. It showed they were now free to spend their own money as they pleased. Children would get real coins in the past, but now the custom is to give chocolate coins wrapped in golden foil. It’s a fun way to teach kids about charity and generosity.
Dreidels are spinning tops that kids play with on Hanukkah. The four Hebrew letters inscribed on the dreidel represent the phrase “Nes Gadol Hayah Po,” which translates to “a great miracle happened here.” That symbolizes the miracle of the Maccabean Revolt when a small amount of oil lasted eight days. The dreidel game is easy to learn and an excellent way to have fun with the family. Players take turns spinning the dreidel and winning or losing tokens based on which letter appears.
- Hanukkah Decorations
Decorating your home during Hanukkah can help you get into the right spirit. Judaica stores offer various decorations for this holiday, including paper garlands and wall hangings featuring Jewish symbols, festive wreaths, tablecloths, and more. These items can make any home look extra festive and show your love for the holiday. Blue and white are the traditional colors of Hanukkah, so these should be prominent in your decorations.
Music is an integral part of Hanukkah. Many classic Jewish songs celebrate this holiday, including “Maoz Tzur.” Some modern versions are also available if you want to give the music a more modern twist. Judaica stores often have a selection of Hanukkah music CDs, but you can also find many online streaming services with Jewish music. Decide the music you want to play, and prepare to fill your home with fun melodies.
- Hanukkah Gifts
The gift-giving tradition dates back to when Jews regained control of the Holy Temple and wanted to show their appreciation through giving. Kids usually get presents like toys, books, and games, while adults may receive items such as kitchenware, gadgets, and more. If you’re looking for gift ideas, a Judaica store can offer a selection of products related to the holiday.
- Delicious Treats
Many traditional dishes exist for people to enjoy during Hanukkah. Latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly-filled doughnuts) are popular choices. These delicious treats are perfect for enjoying with family and friends. You can find recipes online or buy them pre-made in specialty stores. There are other foods, such as kugel, rugelach, and many others that you can make or purchase to add flavor to your Hanukkah celebration.
Visit a Judaica Store To Get Supplies for Hanukkah
Visit a reputable Judaica store to purchase the supplies you need to make your holiday full of light and joy. With the right decorations, music, gifts, and treats, your celebration can be an occasion to remember. Enjoy the festival of lights and make it a special time for your family and friends.