Friday, December 11, 2009

Chag Hanukkah Sameach or Happy Hanukkah!

The first day of Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is on Saturday, December 12 and that means the first candle to be lit is on Friday night, December 11. The holiday runs 8 days, through December 19, 2009. 

The Hebrew word Hanukkah means "dedication." The roots of this name, and the Hanukkah holiday, come from the second century B.C.E. when under foreign domination, a band of Jews led by Mattathias took to the hills of Judea in open revolt against the Seleucid regime of Antiochus IV. 

The festival is observed by lighting of a special candelabrum, the nine-branched Menorah or Hanukiah, one additional light on each night of the holiday, progressing to eight on the final night. Light your Menorah tonight- on Friday the 11th!  

One extra light serves as the shamash (Hebrew: "guard" or "servant")

On each successive night, another candle is added to the menorah. By the time we reach the last night of Hanukkah, eight candles are glowing brightly in celebration of this beautiful festival.

Other familiar Hanukkah customs include spinning the draydal (a special top with Hebrew letters on the sides), eating potato latkes (pancakes) yum yum!
and sufganiyot (jelly donuts)  que rico!! and giving gifts of gelt (coins) to children!! yay!!

This Latke in olive oil.
There is a custom of eating foods fried or baked in oil (preferably olive oil), as the original miracle of the Hanukkah menorah involved the discovery of a small flask of pure olive oil used by the Jewish High Priest, the Kohen Gadol. This small batch of olive oil was only supposed to last one day, and instead it lasted eight.

Eat (lots of fried yumminess) ! 
Drink (great Israeli wines from the Golan Heights) !! 
Be Merry (ho ho ho) !!!
on this Festival of Lights !!!!

Chag Hanukkah Sameach!

1 comment:

Shelly said...

This was a terrific article! Fun, informative, to the point and it made me crave latkes for the first time in my life - YUM!

Thanks for the article! Looking forward to more! :)