Happy Hanukkah

Read the story, then scroll down for a great Hanukkah song, performed by the Hammond Elementary School Choir!

The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah (another common spelling is ” Chanukah”) began at sunset on Tuesday, December 12 and ends the evening of Wednesday, December 20.  The date of Hanukkah, and all Jewish holidays, seems to change from year-to-year.  It does, but it also doesn’t! It’s always the same day in the Jewish calendar– the 25th day of the month of Kislev.   But it seems to change because we use a “civil” calendar, and the Jewish calendar is based on astronomy.

On to Hanukkah!  The holiday, also known as the “Festival of Lights,” always occurs relatively close to Christmas, but there is no connection between the two.  The Jewish Temple had been desecrated by the ruler of Greece, and after a revolt, the Jews in the area were able to reclaim the Temple.   As the story goes, oil was needed to light the menorah (candelabrum) which was supposed to burn all night– every night. Only one small amount of oil was found in the destroyed Temple— an amount that should have lasted for one night.  But miraculously, the oil lasted for eight days— thus, the eight-day “Festival of Lights!”

Jewish people today celebrate the holiday by giving gifts (adding to the confusion, maybe, of comparing Hanukkah to Christmas);  in some families, small gifts are exchanged every night for eight nights.  Families  light the menorah, adding an additional candle each night.  And, people also enjoy some traditional foods, such as latkes (“potato pancakes”) and other foods fried in oil (think jelly donuts)!

If you celebrate Hanukkah, we hope you enjoy the holiday! (And if you have a special Hanukkah recipe, we’d love to see it– just click here!)

The students at Hammond Elementary School in Howard county joined us to perform the Hanukkah song Eight Days & Nights!  Enjoy the song!


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