Hanukkah

Your guide to Hanukkah history, traditions, recipes, and more!

Quick Facts

Meaning of Name: “Dedication”
Transliterations: Channukah, Chanuka, Chanukah, Chanukkah, Hannukah, Hanuka, Hanukah, Hanukka
English Name: Festival of Lights
Jewish Calendar Dates: 25 Kislev to 2 Tevet
Duration: Eight days
Origin of Hanukkah: The victory of the Maccabees, 165 BC.

Dates

Hanukkah starts at sundown on
December 7, 2023

and ends at sundown on
December 15, 2023

History

Hanukkah, meaning “Dedication,” recalls a dark time in the history of our people and our miraculous deliverance from that darkness. This eight-day holiday commemorates the Maccabees’ victory over the armies of Antiochus Epiphanes when God preserved and protected His people through the heroic actions of this small band of Jewish guerrilla fighters.

Tradition

On Hanukkah, we light the menorah each night at sunset and recite special blessings. We also give gifts, sing songs, play dreidel, and eat lots of great food.

Lighting the Menorah

On Hanukkah, we light the menorah each night at sunset, and recite a blessing. On each successive night we light an additional candle, using a ninth candle, the shammos (the center candle, mounted above the others) to light each one.

Playing Dreidel

Everyone is given gelt for “gambling” chips. Each person takes turns spinning the dreidel; depending on which Hebrew letter of the four faces turns up, they either get nothing (nun), win all (ganz), win half the pot (halb), or put in some gelt (shin).

Gift Giving

It’s become customary to give children gifts on each night of Hanukkah. Some see this as innocent fun; others decry it as imitating the consumerism of Christmas. Either way, we can remember the purpose of Hanukkah is to celebrate God’s faithfulness and our people’s history of resilience.

Hanukkah Recipes

Hanukkah wouldn’t be a celebration without the food! It’s traditional to eat foods made with oil on Hanukkah because of the miracle of the oil. Here are three of our favorite recipes for this holiday to enjoy.

Interfaith Celebrations

The December Dilemma

I don’t know where I first heard the term “December dilemma,” but it accurately describes a Jewish conundrum at this time of year.

Read the article on Jewish-Gentile Couples ›

Moms & Tots Interfaith Hanukkah

This is a special interfaith holiday celebration for children five and under! At this 30-minute event, your tot will learn the story of Hanukkah, dance to some holiday music, and enjoy the traditional lighting of the Hanukkah candles!

Inheret Magazine

8 Tips for Involving Your Non-Jewish Partner This Hanukkah

Hanukkah in the New Testament

As Jewish followers of Jesus, we know that no light shines brighter than the hope we have in our Messiah, the “light of the world.” He came as a servant, the shamash to illuminate our world.

“Then came Hanukkah; it was winter in Jerusalem. Yeshua was walking in the Temple around Solomon’s Colonnade.”

(John 10:22–23 TLV)

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