History of Hanukkah
In 167 BC, the Greeks set on converting the world to
their customs and religion. Some Jews converted voluntarily
while others resisted. Following seven years of conflict,
a small group of Jewish soldiers known as the Maccabees
overcame the larger and better-equipped Syrian army.
Upon their return home, they found their Holy Temple
desecrated by the soldiers they had defeated.
Maccabees cleaned the Temple and threw out the Greek idols. When
it came to the lighting of the Holy Eternal Lights, they only found
enough to last for one day, but they lit the lights anyway. It would
take eight days of travel to procure more holy oil for the lights,
but a miracle occurred when the oil that should have burned for
only one day instead lasted for eight days and eight nights.
The victory of this small, steadfast group against the larger,
more powerful army, as well as the miracle of the oil are the reasons
Hanukkah is celebrated for eight days and eight nights.
Eight gifts are traditionally given over the course
of the eight nights of Hanukkah; one on each night, after
the lighting of the Menorah. Sometimes money or chocolate
gelt is given alongside the gifts or as gifts
These Hanukkah votive candle holders are easy to
make and mots of fun. Click here for the simple instructions!
Hand Made Hanukkah Cards
a personal, handmade touch to your Hanukkah gifts and greetings with these easy
to make cards. One rubber stamp image can be used for all these Hanukah card designs
(and many more). Click
for photo instructions.
Wine at Hanukkah
Latkes are the most traditional Hanukkah food as the fried potato
pancakes are a reminder of the oil that burned for eight days instead
Each night of Hanukkah at sundown comes the lighting
of the menorah, called a Hannukiah in Hebrew.
The menorah has nine branches, four on each side and
one in the center. In Orthodox religion, the Hanukiah's branches are level with one another, except for the
center branch which is called the Shamash. The
Shamash, which means servant in Hebrew, is lit
first and it is then used to light the other candles.
Except for the Shamish, on the first night of
Hanukkahonly the candle to the far right is lit. On the
second night, the two right-most candles are lit. Throughout
the celebration, the Shamash is always lit first,
then the newest candle, then the others from left to
right. This continues until the eighth night, when all
eight candles plus the Shamash are lit. Prayers are
said with the lighting of the candles.
The dreidel is a traditional toy used to play Hanukkah
games. Resembling a four-sided top, each of the four
Hebrew letters on the sides of the dreidel stands for
a word, which translates to "A Great Miracle Happened
There." The letters also indicate play of the game.
To play the game, a pile of coins (often chocolate
coins or gelt) is placed between the players.
The first person spins the dreidel. A spin of Nun means the player does nothing. A spin of Gimmel means the player takes everything from the pot. A spin
of Hay means the player should take half of the
pot. A spin of Shin means that the player must
add an object to the pot. When there are no objects
or only one is left, each player adds one to the pot.
If an odd number of objects are in the pot and someone
rolls a Hay, half plus one is taken. When one
person has the entire starting pot, the game is over