December 16, 2014

Celebrating Chanakah by Susan of Susan's Literary Cafe, and Bagels, Books and Schmooze


In Jewish tradition, we celebrate the festival of lights, known as Chanakah , during the month of Kislev (December)for eight days. It starts at sundown on Dec. 16th and ends sundown on Dec. 24th.

I will give you the fast and quick version of the celebration of Chanakah.  The sacred oil was only to last for one day, instead it lasted for eight days.  There is more to the holiday that you can read here.

The tradition of Chanakah is celebrated with lighting of the menorah for each of the eight days of Chanakah.   This is to remind us of the miracles. Associated with the holiday for the children is the dreidel. It is a game played by children, and adults. Gambling is involved and can be taken very serious by die hard game players.  Each letter is associated with a number.
The winner is given”gelt”, chocolate money.
Also associated with the game is the, Dreidel Song, it starts with the song, I have a little dreidel. There are several children’s book written specially for the holiday. For instance, my favorite authors are Eric Kimmel, Herschel, and the Chanakah Goblin, and Patricia Pollocco, The Trees of the Dancing Goats. If you want to do a google search you can find many more books on the internet.

With Chanakah it is foods that are fried. To remind us of the miracle of lasting for eight days. Most Jews from Europe, such as Poland, Russia, etc, commemorate the holiday with the potato latke. Now a days there are different versions of the potato latke, such as carrot, zuchinni, cheese, sweet potato. It is served with sour cream, and apple sauce.
In Israel, Sufganiyot are prepared, it is a version of munchkin. It is a doughnut filled with jelly. There are also many traditional foods in different countries around the world.

Even if you are not Jewish fire up the skillet and try it out with the traditional latke, or try to be adventurous with your own version of the latke.  Or the easy way out, take a drive to your local Dunkin Doughnuts.

Many Jewish families commemorate the holiday with movies, such as Adam Sandler’s, Eight Crazy Nights, Fiddler on the Roof, Blazing Saddles, Frisco Kid( one of the funniest movies I have seen), American Tail.  Jewish themed movie, preferably, not a holocaust movie.

There are different traditions in different countries of Jews all over the world.  

What Chanakah traditions are you familiar with?

Thank you, Susan, for sharing this today, on the first day of Chanakah 2014.  Visit Susan at one of her blogs - Susan's Literary Cafe or Bagels, Books and Schmooze.

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