Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, is one of the most joyous times of the Jewish year. The reason for the celebration is twofold (both dating back to c. 165 BC and the miraculous military victory of the small, ill-equipped Jewish army over the ruling Greek Syrians, who had banned the Jewish religion and desecrated the Temple and the miracle of the small cruse of consecrated oil, which burned for eight days in the Temple’s menorah instead of just one.
Hanukkah is often celebrated by:
- Lighting a menorah for eight nights with olive oil or wax candles; one on the first night and an additional one each succeeding night, so that the last night has eight lights
- Eating food fried in oil, especially potato pancakes and jelly doughnuts
- Playing with a dreidle, a four-sided top; the player wins or loses money depending on which side it lands on (each is marked with a different Hebrew letter)
- Celebrating with family and friends
Here are some websites with activities for the kids: