Today, December 16th, marks the first day of Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights. This holiday is celebrated by the kindling of a candle, one for each of the eight days of the holiday. Once the candle is lit, it is placed in one of the nine-branched menorah, from left-to-right, commemorating the miracle of one jar of oil providing light for eight days soon after the Maccabees recaptured the Holy Temple, in Jerusalem, from the Greeks in the 2nd Century BC.
Along with lighting the menorah, celebrations include:
Music: a large number of traditional songs, such as “Ocho Kanelikas” (“Eight Little Candles”), "Hanukkiah Li Yesh" ("I Have a Hanukkah Menorah"), "S'vivon Sov Sov Sov" ("Dreidel, Spin and Spin") and many more.
Foods: a custom of eating foods friend or baked in oil to commemorate the miracle of a small flask of oil keeping the flame that was in the temple a light for eight days. Traditionally, they include potato pancakes, “latkes” in Yiddish, and jam-filled doughnuts which are deep fried.
Dreidel: a four sided spinning top that children play with. Each side is printed with a Hebrew letter, which are acronyms for the Hebrew word, “Nes Gadol Haya Sham” – “A great miracle happened there”, referring to the miracle of the oil that took place in the temple.
Gelt: unlike Christmas, gifts aren’t traditionally given for Hanukkah, but rather money. Ranging from small coins to larger sums of cash, but also including chocolate wrapped in gold foil.
With Hanukkah, we begin the Holiday Season. This time of year is special to all; we give thanks to what we have, gift to those we love, share love to all and open our doors to new and old friends. We want to wish you a Happy Holiday season from everyone at the Barry Berg Group to you!