Sunday night kicked off the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah. Even if you don’t celebrate the holiday, your children will likely have questions about it. Take this opportunity to educate them during the eight days and nights with these four facts.
In Hebrew, “Hanukkah” means “dedication,” which honors the Jerusalem holy temple’s rededication after the Jewish victory of the Syrian-Greeks.
Beginning on the 25th of the month of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar, Hanukkah is celebrated for eight days and nights. The reason it falls on different days and weeks each year is because the Hebrew calendar is lunar.
The family lights one new candle each night on the menorah, which commemorates the Maccabee miracle, when one day’s worth of oil lasted eight days to rededicate the temple.
Throughout the week, children play with a dreidel toy, which is a four-sided spinning top with a Hebrew letter on each side. The child with the most gelt, candy coins that represent charity, at the end of the game wins.
Kids often wonder which spelling of Hanukkah is correct and why there are so many options. The truth is that most of the spellings you see in English are correct. There are several spellings (for example, Chanukah or Hanukkah) because the guttural sound of the Hebrew letters is difficult to translate into English.
What questions have your children asked about Hanukkah? How does your family celebrate? Tell us in the comments below.