Hanukkah is an eight day holiday celebrated by the Jews. There is actually a lot of historical meaning behind this celebration, and I am going to dive into 10 facts about Hanukkah below. Happy reading!
- Hanukkah means “dedication” – Hanukkah is a day to celebrate the Maccabees reclaiming their temple. It was because of their dedication and determination that this happened. The name makes total sense now.
- Eight days has a significant meaning – This is how long the holy light burned during the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. While there was only enough oil to burn for one night, the light wound up lasting eight nights, hence the eight nights of Hanukkah. Also, there’s that word dedication again.
- Hanukkah is not as big a deal to Jews as you think – The Books of the Maccabees do not appear in Jewish biblical canon. The Jews are more driven by the holidays of Sukkot and Shavuot. However, because of Hanukkah occurring so close to the Christmas and Thanksgiving, it has become a widespread holiday.
- There are 17 blessings said during Hanukkah – On the first night of Hanukkah, three blessings are said. On each succeeding day, only two blessings are stated.
- Hanukkah can be spelled many different ways – While Hanukkah is the most common spelling, you have probably seen it spelled Hannuka and/or Chanukah a handful of times. All of those are correct spellings of the holiday.
- There is meaning behind frying Hanukkah dishes – People fry their food in oil as a symbol of the oil that lasted for eight days. Talk about significance.
- Sufganiyot is stuffed with all sorts of fillings – While most people assume these donut-like treats are only filled with jelly, that is incorrect. Chefs fill these pastries with anything from chocolate to custard to toppings of fresh fruit.
- Children win “prizes” from dreidel spinning – The dreidel actually derives from a gambling background, so this should not come as a surprise. Children receive gelt, which is also known as money, depending on what letter the dreidel falls on.
- Hanukkah presents are a newer tradition – Money used to be the thing everyone received on Hanukkah. However, because of Christmas gift giving, Hanukkah gift giving has become more prevalent.
- Hanukkah was celebrated in space – Back in the 1990s, Jeff Hoffman was aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour during the Jewish holiday. He decided to bring a travel-sized menorah and spin the dreidel to celebrate Hanukkah.
To be honest, most of these facts about Hanukkah are brand new to me. I find them to be very interesting and intriguing, and they will definitely stick with me. I hope they stick with you all the like.