Hanukkah is an eight-day Feast of Dedication, also known as the Festival of Lights. Families and friends look forward to the warmth and glow of this holiday as they observe the lighting of small oil lamps or a ‘Menorah‘. The evening begins with sacred songs, ceremonies and prayers and traditional games and special foods often follow. Fried potato pancakes (latkes) and fried jelly doughnuts (sufganiot) are just a few of the mouth-watering delicacies. Shimmering foil-wrapped Hanukkah chocolate coins are also found on the Hanukkah table, and some lucky children may even get a shiny silver dollar or a commemorative coin.
Other toys include a dreidel, a four-sided top with a Hebrew letter on each side.
As it gets dark early and it’s wintery cold outside, the wind is howling and the trees are swaying. At Chanukah time there may even be snow on the ground! Inside the house it’s cozy as the family gathers ’round the chanuka menorah, preparing to light the candles. The younger may have cute, themed menorahs with colorful candles. And the adults usually light the oil wicks. Starting from oldest to youngest, the male family members light the menorah. One by one, candle by candle, wick by wick flames flicker in existence and the ‘lehadlik ner shel chanukah’ blessing is recited in a chanting melody. After the candle lighting, the family stays together to sing lively chanukah songs. Typically, the kids cajole the adults into joining in a fun game of ‘dreidel’ – where each person spins the dreidel and ‘gambles’ on real or chocolate coins. Meanwhile Mom is at the fire flipping and frying crispy, delicious latkes (potato pancakes) as well as deep-frying sufganyot, the traditional Hannukkah jelly donuts.