Hanukkah (or Chanukah) is a Jewish celebration that occurs on the 25th of the month of Kislev every year. Since the Jewish calendar’s a lunar calendar, sometimes Hanukkah happens in late November and sometimes it happens toward the New Year. This year Hanukkah begins on the evening of December 22, and runs through the 29th.
Hanukkah, called the Festival of Lights, is celebrated by lighting menorahs, eating food fried in oil, and doing acts of charity.
Menorahs are eight-branched candelabra, and you can find them almost anywhere, from Amazon to Target. You’ll also need candles as you’ll be lighting a candle for each night counting up to the eighth night. Light menorahs at home or come out to neighboring Southlake on December 22 for the fifth annual Hanukkah at Town Square.
Fried foods remind us about the time when there almost wasn’t enough oil to last a single night. Latkes are a savory fried potato pancake that you can serve with sour cream or applesauce. Central Market can provide you with a basic recipe (you’ll need matzoh meal, which is in the very small kosher section). Peanut oil not required as olive oil works just as well for this tradition! If you don’t want to foray into making latkes, they’re available in the Chef’s Case. Sufganyot (powdered jelly donuts) are also popular, and are probably available at your favorite donut shop.
Acts of charity aren’t complicated or ritualized. Pick a place you’d like to support – maybe your local animal shelter or children’s hospital – and donate. Another fantastic opportunity for donating is The Greatest Gift Catalog Ever. It’s a clearinghouse of some of the best charities in Fort Worth, and all your tax-deductible donation goes to the charity of your choice.
Hanukkah is more of a commemoration or a celebration rather than a holy day. Jewish holidays include Passover, which begins April 9, 2020, Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, on September 19, 2020, and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) on September 28. In 2020, Hanukkah starts on December 11 and ends December 18.
Hanukkah commemorates the victory of a small band of Jews called the Maccabees over the Assyrian-Greek king Antiochus IV, who commanded that the Jews in the land of Israel worship the Greek pantheon of gods. After a series of battles, the victorious Maccabees realized that there was only enough purified oil to light their Temple’s menorah (a sacred lamp) for one night. But the oil burned for eight nights, and it’s said that a miracle happened there.