The Hanukkah celebration revolves around the kindling of a nine-branched menorah, known in Hebrew as the hanukkiah. On each of the holiday’s eight nights, another candle is added to the menorah after sundown; the ninth candle, called the Shamash (“helper”), is used to light the others. Jews typically recite blessings during this ritual and display the menorah prominently in a window as a reminder to others of the miracle that inspired the holiday.
In another allusion to the Hanukkah miracle, traditional Hanukkah foods are fried in oil. Potato pancakes (known as latkes) and jam-filled donuts (sufganiyot) are particularly popular in many Jewish households. Other Hanukkah customs include playing with four-sided spinning tops called dreidels and exchanging gifts.
Hanukkah Dreidel… Spin the Dreidel!!!
Dreidel is a Yiddish name of a spinning top used on Hanukkah, the word for it in Hebrew is סביבון (savior).
A dreidel got four sides, they are reading:
נ = nun = nisht (nothing)
ג = gimel = gants (whole/all)
ה = heh = (halb)
ש = shin = shtel ayn (put in)
This is an acronym from the phrase נס גדול היה שם which means “a great miracle was there”, referring to the famous miracle of oil (the story of Hanukkah).
Each player spins the dreidel once and he takes action based on the results
Hanukkah gelt is either money or chocolate coins given to children during the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah.
The concept is believed to date back to the 17th century in Poland, where people started giving children (as well as Yeshiva students) money in Hanukkah. It was a good idea to get the word around about Hanukkah’s story.
When it comes to celebrating Hanukkah, music DOES matter! Not everything we listen to these days is considered one of Hanukkah’s traditional songs, but there are certain songs that have been played for so long that they have become a fundamental part of Hanukkah traditions to lots of families.
Do you wanna talk about “THE Hanukkah song”? You will probably be talking about Maoz Tzur…
This wonderful song tells the story of the Jewish people from the days of slavery in Egypt till they were rescued by the miracle of Hanukkah.