By Stella McDermott and Shelly Dey


Wednesday, December 17, 2014 through Thursday, December 25, 2014


The holiday Hanukkah derives from two major events. These two events commemorate Judah Maccabee and the re-dedication of the Temple. Judah Maccabee was a member of a small priestly family in Hasmoneans, and his volunteer army beat the ruthless and forceful Syrian Greek ruler, Antiochus IV in 173 BCE. The Temple, that was once destroyed by Antiochus, was rebuilt by Maccabee and he re-dedicated the celebration of the Temple to the twenty-fifth of Kislev (the Jewish calendar date for Hanukkah). The next Hanukkah starts on Wednesday, December 17 and goes to Thursday, December 25, 2014 (on the Christian calendar). The celebration lasts for eight days and this is established and written in the Talmud. The Talmud says that when Judah Maccabee entered the Temple, he found a jar of oil. Maccabee thought that the oil would only be enough to burn for one day, but to his surprise it burned for eight days until more oil was found. This is called the Miracle of Hanukkah and is why the holiday lasts for eight days.

This picture (on right) is of an oil menorah. This is similar to the first menorahs used, because these menorahs use oil, whereas modern-day menorahs use candles.


Hanukkah does not consist of many traditions, but the main tradition of Hanukkah, Hannukah or Chanukah is the daily lighting of one candle on a menorah or hannukia. A menorah is a nine branched candelabra used during the celebration. There are eight candles for each day of Hanukkah and one candle in the middle to light all of the other candles. The candles are placed from right to left and are lit from left to right. The menorah used to be put outside the home, but later came inside to protect from neighbors. It is placed either in a window or near the front door. Originally oil was used for lighting the menorah, but was replaced when candles were made. Hanukkah is commonly mistaken to be similar to a Jewish Christmas due to the gift giving, but there is no connection between Hanukkah and Christmas. This originated from rewarding kids with gelt (money) for studying the Torah. During Hanukkah, traditional foods to eat are latkes, similar to potato pancakes and sufganiyots, similar to jelly donuts, along with other foods that are fried in oil, all in honor of the Miracle of Hanukkah.

This picture (on right) is of a Jewish family lighting a menorah on the seventh day of Hanukkah. This shows how Hanukkah is celebrated now.


Around 17.5 million donuts (sufganiyot) are eaten in Israel during Hanukkah.

This picture (on right) is an example of a sufganiyot. They are usually topped with powdered sugar and some styles have the jelly peeking out the top.


This video (below) shows and explains the modern-day way of lighting a candle menorah.


"8 Fascinating Facts about Hanukkah." Aishcom. Web. 30 Nov. 2014. <http://www.aish.com/h/c/mm/8-Fascinating-facts-about-Hanukkah.html>.

"Facts about Hanukkah." Crafts Projects Science Experiments and Recipes for Moms with Young Children Funology. Web. 30 Nov. 2014. <http://www.funology.com/facts-about-hanukkah/>.

"Menorah Lighting Guide - DIY." Chabad.org. Web. 02 Dec. 2014. <http://www.chabad.org/multimedia/media_cdo/aid/600771/jewish/Menorah-Lighting-Guide.htm>.

Patterson, José, and Claire Bushe. Stories of the Jewish People. New York: P. Bedrick, 1991. Print.

The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. "Hanukkah (Judaism)." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica. Web. 30 Nov. 2014. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/254643/Hanukkah>.