Hanukkah is a Jewish festival that is celebrated for eight days, usually in December. It is also called the Festival of Lights. Find out why and learn about what people do to celebrate this special holiday.

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Hanukkah, or the Festival of Lights, is a Jewish celebration. Its date changes from year to year, but it always takes place either in November or December. It lasts for eight days and is celebrated by Jews around the world.

The menorah

The most important part of Hanukkah is the lighting of the menorah (a special candleholder used in Jewish ceremonies). For Hanukkah, there is a special menorah with nine candles. Eight of the candles represent the eight days of the festival. The ninth candle is used to light the other eight. On the first day, only one candle is lit, on the second day, two candles, and so on, until all the candles are lit on the last day. The candles are lit at sunset and should burn for at least half an hour. They are usually put at a door or a window so that people can see them from outside.

The history behind the festival

The festival celebrates when a group of Jews won back a temple from the Greeks in the second century BC. They made a new menorah to replace the one that had been broken. But when they went to light it, they could only find one small bowl of the special oil they needed. There was only enough oil to last one night but they knew it would take them eight days to prepare more. They lit the lamps with the oil on that first night, thinking it would burn for just one night. But the oil lasted for another seven nights and this event gave birth to Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights.

Special Hanukkah food

Oil is an important part of the Hanukkah celebrations and all kinds of food made with oil are eaten on the eight days. In central and eastern Europe they make latke, fried potato pancakes, that they eat with apple sauce or sour cream. The favourite treat in Israel is sufganiyot (doughnuts filled with strawberry jam). Other popular festival foods include apple cakes and pretzels (bread made in the shape of a knot).

Celebrating with family and friends

Family and friends are very important during the festival. It's traditional to invite people to your home to have dinner and to play games together. The most traditional game is played with a dreidel, a wooden spinning top with four sides. There are four Hebrew letters on the four sides and, depending on which letter your top lands on, you win or lose. The game is usually played with nuts and dried fruit and sweets.

Hanukkah gifts

Lots of families give presents during the festival, especially to children. These are often games that the whole family can play together or books and other small gifts. It is also a tradition to give money to children (Hanukkah gelt) and to encourage them to donate some of their money to good causes.

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Submitted by Tajbibi Shamim on Sat, 14/12/2019 - 16:42

We have a festival called Diwali in India. It is a commercial new year where people pray for prosperity and worship goddess Laxmi . They then begin the new year. Workers and staff are given gifts, from the company's profit.

Submitted by Abdullah1991 on Sat, 07/12/2019 - 11:22

Actually, we don't have this kind of festival, but we have two different kind of celebrations in my country Saudi Arabia which is Islamic religion celebrations, the first one called "Eid Alfiter" the second one called "Eid Aladha". Eid Alfiter: came after "Ramadan" Which is name of month when Muslim people fast all that month, just "during the day" (my favorite).

Submitted by parisaach on Tue, 01/10/2019 - 09:17

There is no Hanukkah celebration in my country. There is some jew in my country, but I guess they don't dare to celebrate their traditional festivals in my country. I don't know any jewish person. I don't have prejudice against any relegion. I like old tradition of different countries and I think people should respect to other's beliefs

Submitted by cuneyt on Sun, 17/02/2019 - 22:20

Hi Everybody, Yes , there is like that festival actually it isn't festival completely. the religious cerenomy. I can tell on of them. its name is Ramadan feast. Ramadan feast is very important for muslim people in the world. The muslims fast along thirty days. People don't eat from ın the morning until evening. Firstly people wake up at night about 3-4 a.m. they eat something. Than, they don't eat food when they ear the azan. they don't eat and drink anything untıl in the evening. there are a lots of
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Submitted by Wang Zijian on Tue, 12/02/2019 - 13:29

Of course. We have Spring Festival each Lunar New Year here in China. It's similar to Hanukkah celebrated by Jews.
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Submitted by Abolfazl Afshari on Wed, 06/02/2019 - 05:21

Hello All. There are many festivals in Iranian culture like: nowruz ; chaharshanbe suri ; Eid-Al-fitr for muslim people and so many other festivals for get better information about iranian festivals you can serach in the internet and enjoy. I hope the best for all of you

Submitted by Frost on Thu, 31/01/2019 - 18:07

The Thadingyut Festival , also known as the Lighting Festival of Myanmar, is held on the full moon day of the Burmese lunar month of Thadingyut. As a custom, it is held at the end of the Buddhist lent (Vassa) and is the second most popular festival in Myanmar after Thingyan Festival (New Year Water Festival). Thadingyut festival is the celebration to welcome the Buddha’s descent from the heaven after he preached the Abhidhamma to his mother, Maya, who was reborn in the heaven.

Submitted by Volvox on Fri, 25/01/2019 - 20:57

Yes, these is. Here in Florianópolis, Santa Catarina State, Brazil, it's called "Festa do Divino Espírito Santo".

Submitted by ahm11 on Tue, 22/01/2019 - 17:01

in my county there are lots of special days like first of Ramdan and and eid but the most important day is Alhaj and the day next to.

Submitted by Lucianokb on Wed, 16/01/2019 - 18:08

In my country haven't got a similar festival but it have got others celebraitions