The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah (or Chanukah) is also known as the Festival of Lights. This eight-day celebration commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem after Judah Maccabee and his army of farmers' victory over the Syrian-Greeks. Most of us have heard the miracle of the oil lasting eight days when there was only enough to really last for one. But did you know that Hanukkah is filled with other miracles too, large and small? Many miracles are part of the Jewish faith. Click here to learn more about the miracle.
Fill your eight days of Hanukkah with memories along with delicious recipes! Use our free Hanukkah Bucket List printable for inspiration:
- Lighting the menorah: When the Jews attempted to re-dedicate and purify the temple, there was one small jug of oil — only enough to burn for one night. But the oil lasted 8 nights — the miracle of Hanukkah! Every year it is customary to commemorate the miracle of the Hanukkah oil by lighting candles on a menorah. The Hanukkah menorah is lit every night for eight nights. Want to make this tradition extra personal? See our story on Family Traditions: Making Our Own Hanukkah Candles.
- Playing dreidel: The dreidel is a four-sided top with Hebrew letters written on each side. Each letter calls for a different action. The game is played with chocolate coins covered with tin foil (Gelt), or pretzel sticks, raisins, or whatever you like. Hanukkah isn't complete without spinning the dreidel and playing this game! Don't know how? Learn to play dreidel!
- Eating fried foods: Since Hanukkah celebrates the miracle of oil, it is traditional to eat fried foods such as latkes and jelly donuts during the holiday. Latkes are pancakes made out of potatoes and onions, which are fried in oil. They can stink up the kitchen and take a while to make, but they are worth it! A favorite fried food during Hanukkah in Italy? Fried chicken, or pollo fritto.
- Decorate: The kids love to decorate the house. Every year bringing out the family decorations and homemade crafts is fun. Remembering the stories behind the crafts is always a highlight.
- Read holiday books: There are a lot of Hanukkah books out there. Check out these 6 Books About Hanukkah For Kids.
Meghan Griech is the publisher of Macaroni Kid Upper Bucks, which serves the Quakertown-Doylestown area in Pennsylvania.