Hanukkah

For eight days and nights, candles are lit, songs are sung, and dreidels are spun to celebrate one of the most joyous of Jewish holidays.


Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah, a holiday honoring the Maccabees's victory over King Antiochus, who forbade Jews to practice their religion.

Hanukkah is celebrated on the 25th day of Kislev (the ninth month of the Hebrew calendar), which is generally in late November to mid-December. That's why the holiday starts on a different date each year.

For eight nights, candles are lit in a menorah, a candelabrum with spaces for nine candles—one for each night plus a helper candle called the shamash (shammes in Yiddish). On each night, one more candle is added and lit. During the lighting, people recite special blessings and prayers. Families play games, sing songs, and exchange gifts. Potato pancakes, known as latkes in Yiddish, are traditionally eaten with applesauce and sour cream during Hanukkah.

In 2021, Hanukkah starts the evening of November 28 and ends on December 6.