As the holiday season approaches and as malls get busier and display windows are filled with red, green, candy canes, and sparkly artificial snow, we get ready to celebrate not only Christmas, but Hanukkah, Muharram, Diwali, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s.
Travel with TripAtlas.com, the World’s Largest Online Travel Resource, as we celebrate the Jewish holiday, Hanukkah and understand its significance worldwide for more than 2000 years. From Jerusalem to Poland and Canada, Hanukkah is celebrated in hundreds of countries across the world.
Read on for more about Hanukkah! Or find more at TripAtlas.com: 10 Travel Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday or Vacation this Winter or for more about this holiday season, read up on Santa Claus: Legend or Conspiracy?
Celebrating Hanukkah: from Jerusalem and out into the World
Hanukkah, also spelt/pronounced as Chanukah, is a Jewish holiday that takes place usually around November or December, usually coinciding with the general holiday season. "Hanukkah" is the term in Hebrew for "dedication" or "consecration." It is also known as the "Festival of Lights." It is during this eight-day holiday that the people of the Jewish culture and faith come together in their families to remember and commemorate the miracle that happened at the re-dedication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem.
The ancient Temple of Jerusalem has had a long history, and was destroyed or desecrated twice. Hanukkah marks the celebration of the 2nd time that the Temple was re-dedicated to the Lord (hence, the Second Temple) in 165 BC. The Second Temple was destroyed in 70 AD. As the menorah was lit at the celebration, they found that there was only one day's worth of olive oil. Miraculously, the one day's worth of olive oil lasted eight days, which was also the exact time needed to prepare more oil. Hanukkah thus began as a celebration to remember this miracle of the Lord's provision for his people. Today Hanukkah has also become a time to remember other parts of Jewish history, including the Diaspora, today's modern Jewish community, and promoting good family values and time.
Due to the diverse and widely spread nature of the Jewish peoples throughout the world, Hanukkah is celebrated in hundreds of countries internationally, including Poland, Israel, France, Germany, Canada, and the U.S. Many of these different Jewish communities have taken on their own ways of celebrating Hanukkah.
On each day of Hanukkah, another candle on the menorah is lit. There are a total of 9 candles on the menorah. Activities, rituals, blessings, and prayers are enacted and performed on each night. There are also games and songs which are part of the ritual, where children play games to get coins with the dreidel. The dreidel is toy which is spun and has 4 sides, each with a Hebrew character which symbolizes of the phrase: "a great miracle happened here." Hanukkah gifts are exchanged and a great special foods and dishes, including latkes (potato cakes), foods fried in olive oil (to celebrate the miracle of the olive oil lasting 8 days), fruit filled donuts, and other Jewish cultural foods.
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Gizelle Lau is a freelance writer & photographer in Toronto, Canada with a passion for food and travel.
Located: Toronto Canada
Likes: cities, culture, food/wine, paths-less-travelled, photography, wildlife