Hanukkah is a holiday that is filled with traditions that date back to 139 BC. Hanukkah (also known by Chanukah) is the celebration of the Jewish Festival of Lights and carries on for eight days. This holiday originated when the Jews rebelled against their Syrian Ruler. Once defeated, the Jews restored the Temple of Jerusalem. In honor of their victory, celebrations involved lighting an oil lamp. Unfortunately, the Jews had just enough oil to keep the lamp aflame for one night. Miraculously, the oil lamp continued to stay lit for eight days, which is known as the “Miracle of the Oil.” It is this miracle that is commemorated and reenacted each year in celebration.
Jewish people have been honoring this celebration ever since, with songs, special gifts, and activities that everyone can enjoy. While most traditions have stayed throughout the years, new ones keep emerging. Kids are now more involved than ever with the cooking, coming up with fun things to do while still keeping the traditions alive for their future families.
This festive time of year usually falls in Late November or December and is celebrated by families and friends. Typical celebrations consist of gift giving, cooking, singing and other fun activities that span the whole 8 days. Songs like “Oh, Chanukah! Oh, Chanukah!” and “Blessings on the Menorah” are just a couple songs that are sang gathered around the Menorah with the family. Also, playing with a dreidel on Hanukkah has been a tradition for years while waiting for gifts to be handed out. While these are traditional Hanukkah activities, over the years, things have changed and kids having been coming up with new games, songs, and activities. Songs like “Bruce the Hanukkah Moose” are silly and fun songs that kids enjoy singing.
Now kids are able to add to the fun with recipes that are perfect just for them! Fun recipes like, Hanukkah Coins, which are chocolate coins with sprinkles are super easy to make for any child. As well as making dreidels, coloring in a paper Menorah, and reading colorful versions of the Hanukkah story to learn where it all began.
Hanukkah has many traditions new and old that can make this wonderful time even more exciting and special. For Hanukkah activities for children, look to the resources below: