If you’re not Jewish or if you didn’t grow up in a traditional, Jewish household, then you may know surprisingly little about Chanukah. To help with this lack of information, here’s a little bit of information on one of the most important holidays:
It seems that while pop culture loves focusing on Christmas (or Yule), Chanukah tends to get left out of the winter holiday conversation. Yet, Chanukah is one of history’s oldest holidays with it’s beginning being estimated around 165 B.C.E. It is meant to celebrate the victory of the Maccabees over the Syrian-Greeks who ruled over Israel at the time as well as the miracle of the oil that burned for 8 days when there was only enough for one.
Also referred to as the Festival of Lights, Chanukah takes place over 8 days and nights. It is a time for families to come together to eat traditional foods like latkes and challah. If you have a sweet tooth you can also pop down to your local Jewish deli to pick up some sufganiyots, which are very similar to jelly-filled donuts. Many of the most traditional Chanukah foods are fried in oil to keep with the theme of the holiday, although chocolate coins also known as “gelt” are another common favorite.