BC: Author: Annamarie Larue
FC: Hanukkah the "Festival of Lights"
1: Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday. It is also called the "Festival of Lights," "Chanukah," and the "days of dedication."
2: This festival is generally celebrated close to Christmas but it can start anywhere from November through December. It always lasts eight days.
3: There are two reasons why Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah: to celebrate a victory and to celebrate a miracle.
4: The victory being celebrated happened 2,000 years ago. The Jewish people had defeated King Antiochus and saved their religion and Temple where they worshiped. | Statue of King Antiochus | Jewish battle against Antiochus
5: The miracle was a result of this victory. When the Jewish people got back the Temple, the light was out so they went to relight it but they only had enough oil for one day. The oil ended up lasting eight days, though, which was a miracle. | model of the Jewish Temple
6: Jewish people light a menorah in celebration of the light lit in the Temple.
7: One candle is lit the first day of Hanukkah and another is added each day after. Special prayers are said or sang as the candles are lit each time.
8: There are nine candles on a menorah. Eight of the candles represent the "miracle of oil".
9: The ninth candle,in the middle, is called the shammash. It symbolizes "light" and is used to light the other candles.
10: During Hanukkah, Jewish people also sing, give gifts, play games, and gather to eat special food.
11: A dreidel is a four-sided spinning top that children play with during Hanukkah. The symbols on it's sides mean "a great miracle happened there."
13: Some special foods that are ate on Hanukkah are latkes, which are potato cakes, and sufganiyot, which are doughnuts that are filled with jelly or cheese. They are fried in olive oil in memory of the oil used in the Temple.
14: Does your family celebrate a winter holiday a certain way?
16: Glossary | Antiochus [an-tahy-uh-kuhs]: the king that ruled over the Jewish people dreidel [dreyd-l]: four-sided spinning top with Hebrew writing on it which means "a great miracle happened here" Hanukkah [hah-nuh-kuh]: a Jewish celebration of a victory and a miracle that is honored by lighting candles on a menorah
17: latke [laht-kuh]: Jewish potato cakes menorah [muh-nawr-uh]: a candle holder used during Hanukkah shammash [shai-maish]: the ninth candle in the menorah used to light the eight Hanukkah candles sufganiyot: Jewish doughnuts made during Hanukkah
18: References: | Books: Craven, Jerry. Festivals. Vero Beach, FL: Rourke Publications, 1996. 24-25. Schaefer, Lola. Hanukkah. Mankato, MN: Pebble Books, 2001.
19: Websites: "Celebrate Winter Holidays." Teachers. Scholastic, Inc., 2012. Web. 18 Jun 2012.