Courtesy of Mental Floss

Tali Cooper

Hanukkah is a holiday celebrated by Jewish people around winter. It is a time for making memories with family and friends, getting gifts, eating delicious foods, and playing fun games. This holiday lasts for eight days, and this year,, it starts on Sunday, November 28th and ends Monday, December 6th. Hanukkah is known around the world as the “Festival of Lights”. The word Hanukkah actually means dedication or rededication.

Hanukkah (or Chanukah) originated in the temple of Jerusalem during the second century of B.C. Judah Maccabee and other Jews who were involved in the rededication of the temple witnessed a miracle. According to the story, there was only enough olive oil to light the menorah’s candles for one day, but it lasted eight! This incredible miracle inspired the Jewish people to declare an eight-day festival that happens every year.

Every year during this time, people who celebrate this holiday eat delicious foods like latkes – potato pancakes, sufganiyot – jelly donuts, and gelt – chocolate coins. People play a well-known game with gelt and dreidels. Dreidels are sort of like a top that you can spin. There are four sides with a Hebrew letter on each side. If you land on gimel, you get to take the whole pot or all of the gelt. If you land on hey, you get half of the pot. If you land on nun, you basically skip a turn. Lastly, if you land on shin, you have to put in one coin.

7th grader Carina Mazer’s favorite part of Hanukkah is “FOOD!!” Also, Kira Rubinich – 7th grader – said, “My favorite part about Hanukkah is saying the prayers and lighting the candles.” Lastly, 7th grade math teacher Ms. Van Dyke said, “My favorite part of Hanukkah is simply keeping the tradition of lighting the menorah and saying the prayer. It is important to me to remember the traditions of my ancestors, and recognize events that are part of my heritage. If I’m celebrating with my family, then I love eating latkes with applesauce and playing dreidel and giving gifts. Family makes it more fun!” No matter what holiday you celebrate around winter time, make it fun and festive!