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Home for the Holidays: Hanukkah

A dive into the Jewish Holiday that millions celebrate
Anna Simms
What is Hanukkah and how is it celebrated?

Hanukkah, also spelled Chanukah, is one of the main holiday celebrations in Judaism. Every year starting on the eve of Kislev 25, the eight day celebration begins. Kislev is the ninth month on the Hebrew calendar, and tends to line up with November and December in the Gregorian calendar. This year, Hanukkah will be celebrated from Dec. 7 to Dec. 15. 

Despite only about 15 million people worldwide believing in Judaism, or about 0.2% of the world population, Hanukkah is one of the most known holidays, at least in the United States. Israel has the highest population of Jews, at 6.9 million, and the United States is a close second with roughly 6 million, as of a 2021 census.   

In translation from Hebrew to English, Chanukah (kha-nu-kah) is defined as dedication, which is what the holiday stands for, as it is the rededication of the Holy Temple. 

Lasting for eight days, there are many traditions to be done including lighting the menorah each night, reciting prayers, eating traditional food, and singing songs.

A menorah holds a total of nine candles, one for each day of Hanukkah and the ninth to help light the other candles, which is called the shamash and is the center candle of the menorah. Starting on the first night, only one candle is lit, and each passing night an additional candle is lit until the eighth and final night, where all of the candles are now lit. 

Fried food is a staple during Hanukkah, as oil used to fry the food is a way to honor the oil used to light the menorah. There are many traditional foods that are made in celebration of Hanukkah, including latkes, burbushella, and sufganiyot, just to name a few.

Latkes are traditionally a savory fried potato dish with crispy edges, and are accompanied by different dipping sauces, including sour cream and applesauce. Burbushella is a sweet fried pastry that originated in Georgian Jewish communities, made from water, flour, cognac, eggs, baking soda, and then dusted with powdered sugar. Similarly to burbushella, sufganiyot, also called sufganiyah, is an Israeli fried jelly donut. 

Just like any other religious holiday, Hanukkah has a deep meaning and significance within its religion and is a way to bring friends and family together.

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About the Contributor
Anna Simms, Editor-in-Chief of LHStoday.org
Anna Simms is the editor-in-chief of LHStoday.org and this is her third year in publications. She is also in her senior year and second year at SCC. After high school, Anna plans on going to a university to study biomedical sciences, and later get a doctorate. She is also a part of Liberty’s drama club as an executive board member, and has done both acting and tech. Outside of school, you can find Anna either taking photos, editing, hanging out with friends, listening to music, or reading!

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