SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – Hanukkah is in full swing worldwide and here in San Diego.
Hanukkah is known as the eight-day Jewish holiday, also known as the Festival of Lights, in which there is a nightly menorah lighting, special prayers and fried foods. Hanukkah falls in late fall or early winter and is observed this year from Nov. 28 through Dec. 6.
According to the Chabad of Poway website, In the second century BCE, a small band of “poorly armed Jews” led by Judah the Maccabee defeated and reclaimed the Holy Temple of Jerusalem from the Seleucids (Syrian-Greeks), who tried to force them to accept Greek culture and beliefs over their own.
When they went to light the Temple’s Menorah, they found only one jar of oil that the Greeks did not contaminate. They used the oil to light the menorah, which lasted for eight days.
Chanukah or Hanukkah?
Both are actually right. In Hebrew the word is pronounced with a guttural sound or "kh." Phonetically it is pronounced kha-nu-kah and not tcha-new-kah.
How it's celebrated
Throughout eight nights, a menorah is lit. The menorah holds nine flames, one known as the shamash or attendant used to light the other eight candles. On the first night, one candle is lit, followed by one more on the second night, with the final one on the eighth night.
Before the menorah is lit, special blessings are recited often in a traditional melody, and traditional songs are sung afterward.
Read the complete guide on how to light a menorah here.
Because Hanukkah involves oil, it is customary to eat fried foods like potato latke garnished with applesauce or sour cream and jelly-filled doughnuts called sufganya.
It is customary to play dreidel, a four-sided spinning top with Hebrew letters: nun, gimmel, hei and shin, an acronym for nes gadol hayah sham or “a great miracle happened there.” A person wins or loses based on the letter the dreidel lands.