Hanukkah Celebrations Approach


Anna Sofia Nguyen Loeb, Staff Writer

     December of each year brings Christmas music in grocery stores, Christmas movies on cable tv and Christmas-themed candies. However, the month of December also marks the start of Hanukkah on the evening of Sunday, Dec. 18 at sundown and the end of the holiday on Monday, Dec. 26 at sundown.

     Hanukkah is the Festival of Rededication that celebrates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after its encaptured by the Syrians in 164 BCE. Hanukkah is also called the Festival of Lights to memorialize the scarce oil that burned for eight days and lit up the temple.

     “My favorite Hanukkah tradition is lighting the menorah with my family,”  junior Sasha Mackoff said. “Knowing that people have done this for centuries really connects me with my faith.” 

     The menorah is the most central part of Hanukkah as everything in this holiday revolves around the menorah and what it stands for. Celebrators light one candle each day until all eight candles are lit to represent the oil in the old Temple that lasted much longer than it should have with the help of God.

     The miracle of Hanukkah is physically represented through the many foods of the holiday like latkes, Ashkenazi potato pancakes and sufganiyot, or jelly donuts. These foods, along with many others, are fried in oil to remember the great miracle that kept people going.

     “I like sufganiyot because they’re filled with jelly and they taste good,” junior Ethan Mark said.

     Although one of the most popular Jewish holidays, Hanukkah is not a major holiday. The themes of liberation from oppression and thankfulness can be seen in many other much more important holidays like Passover or even Rosh Hashanah. Despite Hanukkah not being the most important holiday, it’s still a time to celebrate. 

     “To me, Hanukkah means a time to connect with family and friends over tradition,” senior Maddy Barth said. “Every year my family throws a Hanukkah party where we eat traditional foods and play games like dreidel. Hanukkah is my favorite holiday and I look forward to it every year.” 

     The social opportunities that Hanukkah provides give the perfect excuse for cultural get-togethers. 

     “Something special my family does to celebrate Hanukkah is every year, we have a group of our close Israeli friends over daily to play games, listen to Hanukkah songs and light the menorah,” senior Amit Reznik said.