Why Does Hanukkah Change Every Year?
Hanukkah (or Hanukkah, if you prefer) is an eight-day Jewish religious holiday that usually takes place in late November or early December. It celebrates the start of the Maccabean rebellion against the Seleucid Empire and the re-consecration of the Second Temple, which took place in the 2nd century BC. This is a strict definition of a holiday. In practice, in America 2022, Hanukkah is the “festival of lights,” a winter holiday marked by gifts, delicious food, candle-lighting, and a boring game of dreidel (more on that below).
From a religious standpoint, Hanukkah is a relatively minor holiday, not as important as the Jewish High Holy days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, but it is loved by children, especially American children (probably because of the gifts). Today, the holiday is celebrated in Jewish communities around the world, but Jews in the US are the undisputed kings and queens of Hanukkah.
When is Hanukkah this year?
The first day of Hanukkah in 2022 is December 18th. The last day is December 26th. This year is later than usual and coincides with Christmas, meaning a double holiday for households that celebrate both. Check!
Why does Hanukkah fall on a different date each year?
While Hanukkah falls on a different date each year in the Gregorian calendar that you’re probably familiar with, it begins each year on the same day in the Hebrew calendar: Kislev 25. The Jewish calendar is based on the moon, so Hanukkah falls on the 25th day after the new moon, which marks the beginning of the month of Kislev.
The Origins of Hanukkah: The Jewish Rebellion Brought to You by Cincinnati Rabbis
There are two ways to think about the origin of the Festival of Lights. We can say that Hanukkah began around 200 BC. BC, when the Greek leaders did not allow the Jews to practice their religion, which led to the rebellion of the Jewish Maccabees. Or you could say that Hanukkah began in Cincinnati.
Before a couple of hundred years ago, there was no record of anyone celebrating Hanukkah – it may have been done, but it wasn’t that remarkable that someone recorded it. That all changed in the mid to late 1800s, when a pair of Cincinnati rabbis, Isaac M. Wise and Max Lilienthal, added Hanukkah to the list of holidays. They popularized and promoted the holiday by introducing their congregants to the celebration of Hanukkah and promoting it in national Jewish publications.
Wise and Lilienthal were leaders in Reform Judaism, a more modern, less orthodox form of religion, and the holiday they popularized reflects this set of values. It was designed to help Jewish children in America honor their heritage by presenting an exciting and interesting historical event featuring Jewish heroes. it also had to be like Christmas – a fun family holiday.
Lilienthal noted the growing popularity of Christmas celebrations in the US in the 1800s and was impressed by how Christian churches used the secular aspects of the holiday to teach their faith, so he borrowed the gifts and light-hearted nature of the non-religious Christmas. celebrations and give them a Jewish flavor. Thus, Hanukkah was born.
“We, too, must do something to revive our children… [They] will have a grand and glorious Hanukkah holiday, more enjoyable than any Christmas holiday.” Lilienthal wrote in 1876 .
Hanukkah Traditions: You’ve Been Wrong About the Menorah All Your Life
The main event of Hanukkah among most celebrants is the lighting of candles before dinner, one for each subsequent evening of the festival. When the Maccabees rebuilt the temple in the old days, they re-lit the menorahs – candlesticks for eight candles – but they had enough oil to keep the candles burning for only one night (or so the story goes). Miraculously, the light lasted eight nights.
Technically, most people don’t light menorahs on Hanukkah. Menorahs have eight lights. Hanukkah candles are usually found in a “hanukkah” consisting of nine: eight main candles and an auxiliary candle that lights them all.
In terms of food, you can eat whatever you like, but fried foods, especially lattes (fried potato pancakes), are popular and delicious, especially when served with sour cream and/or applesauce. Jelly donuts are another favorite.
Many Hanukkah heads also give gifts, one for each night.
Why are there no classic Hanukkah songs as Christmas standards?
Hanukkah hymns never caught on because Jewish songwriters of the golden age were busy writing “Let It Snow”, “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire”, “Silver Bells”, “White Christmas”, “Red Nosed Reindeer Rudolf”, etc. almost any other Christmas song that is not an anthem.
“Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel – you are THE WORST GAME EVER”
Many families take out a dreidel (hebrew top) and play with it for five minutes after dinner until everyone gets bored. Dreidel is the worst game, but here’s how it’s played: Everyone bets, usually a piece of chocolate, and you take turns spinning the dreidel until someone hits the jackpot. Good luck to all. No skill.
It is widely believed that the dreidel is the most popular Hanukkah game, but this is a lie. The most popular (and best) Hanukkah game is “guess which candle will go out last,” a much more subtle and addictive game played by anyone who has ever lit a menorah (sorry, Hanukkah) before dinner. Do darker candles burn faster than lighter ones? Does placement matter? How about wick length? All this and more needs to be considered if you are going to master this addictive game.
Is it healthy to celebrate Hanukkah if you’re not Jewish?
You can celebrate any holiday. It’s usually considered a “jolly” holiday, and while I don’t speak for anyone else, I can’t imagine too many Jews getting offended if you want to light candles and watch 8 Crazy Nights to capture some of those moments. The magic of Hanukkah. Some holiday traditions were partly inspired by Christmas anyway, and much of Christmas was borrowed from the pagan solstice celebration itself, so go crazy – it’s the holidays.