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menorahThis year, Hanukkah begins at sunset on Thursday, December 7, 2023 and continues for eight days ending at sunset on Friday, December 15, 2023.

During Hanukkah, families around the Jewish world delight in the story of the miracle of the lamp that remained lit for eight days.

Today, there are a wealth of festive traditions that surround the lighting of the menorah that commemorate the miracle.

The story of Hanukkah

The story of Hanukkah began when an outnumbered army of Maccabees claimed victory over the Syrian army -- which seemed to be miracle enough! But it was soon discovered that during the battle Syrians had raided the temple and stolen the golden menorah.

So the Maccabees crafted a new one. But there was only a small amount of oil to light the lamp. The faithful people lit the lamp anyway, thinking it would burn for only a day — but by some wonderful miracle the oil continued to burn for eight days!

In memory of the joyful occasion, an annual thanksgiving celebration has taken place each yeara s candles are lit to commemorate each of the eight days of the Hanukkah miracle.

spin the dreidel

(Hover your cursor over
the image to spin the
virtual dreidel.)

Hanukkah fun and feasting

This is not a major religious holiday, but it is the favorite children worldwide. It is a time when Hanukkah candlelight blessings and Chanukah songs go hand in hand with latkes (traditional potato pancakes), gifts, and Hanukkah gelt - wrapped chocolate candy under the guise of gold coins.

During modern celebrations, small gifts are given each night to children to celebrate the eight days of Hunukkah.

Dreidel games, with a four-sided spinning top, is another fun tradition that has an ancient history. The dreidel has four letters from the Hebrew alphabet, imprinted on each of its sides.-- Nun, Gimel, Hay, and Pay -- which stands for Nais Gadol Hayah Poh, or "a great miracle happened here."

also see in Recipes -> Latkes Recipe | Chanukah Roast Recipe | Chanukah Fudge Cake Recipe

DID YOU KNOW? More Hanukkah fun facts

jelly donut
17. 5 million served.

• According to TIME Magazine there are 16 different ways to spell Hannukah including the three most popular - Hanukkah, Hannuka, and Chanukah.

• On average, 17.5 million sufganiyot (jelly donuts) are eaten in Israel during Hanukkah.

Hanukkah gift giving was never a tradition until Jewish immigrants came to America in the early 20th century. That's when they discovered the Christmas ritual that fell around the same time as Hanukkah, and adopted the tradition of family gift exchanges.

• The first day of Hanukkah overlapped with American Thanksgiving Day in 2013, resulting in popular jokes about "Thanksgivukkah" that included cranberry-filled jelly donuts and sweet potato latkes. Alas, the next Thanksgivukkah won’t occur until 2070.


More about Hanukkah around the Web:

Around the Web, discover more about the holiday with guides to the menorah lighting, recipes, interactive games, history and trivia, songs and music.

Happy Hanukkah!

Virtual Chanukah - This whole site is a mitzvah! From the ancient to the present - from the miraculous to the secular including a schedule of menorah lightings around the globe, video clips, and audio files.

Happy Chanukah from
- Extensive info including the basics and a complete How-To Guide featuring an animated menorah, a list of blessings, Hanukkah songs and lyrics, tips on party planning and anything else you ever wanted to know.

Latkes Recipes - Hanukkah - All Recipes - Visitor submitted and rated recipes with complete ingredients and instructions, plus browse around for more on homemade apple sauce, brisket dinners and related holiday recipes.

Torah Tots Interactive Page - Lots of coloring pages to print and more, and don't miss the online dreidel game. Click on the spinning dreidel and it tells you what the Hebrew character means and explains the right move.

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