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Everything You Need to Know About Hanukkah 2022

When searching for gifts to give for Hanukkah 2022, it's important to remember what the holiday represents. One common symbol of Hanukkah is the Menorah, a candelabrum with nine branches. 

Oftentimes, people will give Menorahs as gifts during this period. Another popular gift is dreidels, which are spinning tops with four sides that each have a different letter on them: nun (נ), gimmel (ג), hey (ה), and shin (ש). These letters are "nes gadol haya sham" or "a great miracle happened there." 

Finally, another popular gift option is chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil paper called gelt (Yiddish for money). So if you're looking for a unique and meaningful gift to give someone during Hannukah, consider looking at Gift Kosher!

What is Hanukkah?

Hanukkah or Chanukah means "dedication," and it celebrates the rededication of the Holy Temple (read more below). Instead of tcha-new-kah, the Hebrew word is pronounced with a guttural "kh" sound, kha-nu-kah.

Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday that celebrates the dedication of the Temple of Jerusalem. The holiday begins on the 25th day of Kislev in the Hebrew calendar and lasts for eight days. Hanukkah is also known as the Festival of Lights because it commemorated when a single lamp burned for eight days instead of seven. 

Hanukkah commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple of Jerusalem and reaffirms the ideals of Judaism by lighting candles daily. Although not mentioned in the Hebrew Scriptures, Hanukkah remains among the most famous Jewish holidays.

There are special prayers, fried foods, and nightly menorah lightings during Chanukah, the Jewish wintertime "festival of lights.".

What does Hanukkah celebrate?

The Seleucids (Syrian-Greeks) ruled the Holy Land in the second century BCE, forcing the Jewish people to accept Greek culture and beliefs instead of mitzvah observance and belief in G-d. But Judah the Maccabee led a small band of Jews who defeated one of the mightiest armies in history, drove the Greeks from Jerusalem, and reclaimed the Holy Temple.

They found only one cruse of olive oil that was uncontaminated when they searched for the Menorah (the seven-branched candelabrum) in the Temple. They miraculously lit the menorah for eight days using just one day's oil supply until new oil could be prepared.

After that, Chanukah was instituted by the sages as a way of commemorating and publicizing these miracles.

When is Hanukkah 2022?

Hanukkah begins on the eve of Kislev 25. Generally, it falls during December on the civil calendar. Hanukkah 2022 will start on December 18.

When does Hanukkah end?

In the Maccabean Revolt, Jews rose against their Greek-Syrian oppressors during the second century BC and rededicated the Second Temple in Jerusalem during Hanukkah. This year, the eight-day celebration will end on December 26, 2022.

How many days is Hanukkah?

According to the Talmud, “When the Greeks entered the Temple, they defiled all the oils, and when the Hasmoneans prevailed and defeated them, they searched and found only one cruse of oil which lay with the seal of the Kohen Gadol. It contained only enough oil to light for one day, yet a miracle happened, and they used it to light for eight days.”

Hence, this holiday is celebrated for eight days.

How is Hanukkah celebrated? 

This is how Hanukkah is celebrated: 

The lighting of the Menorah

One of the essential Hanukkah rituals is lighting a menorah every evening. The menorah, or Hanukkah lamp, is a candle holder with eight branches that carry the shamash candle. During Hanukkah, eight candles are lit every evening.

The menorah was traditionally lit with olive oil. However, candles were then utilized and lit in a left-to-right pattern during the celebration. A blessing is said as the candles are lit. The menorah was initially lit outside the house but was brought inside to avoid offending neighbors.

The offering of liturgy and prayers

Hanukkah is also marked by daily Scripture reading, singing of a special hymn, and reading of the Psalms daily.

During Hanukkah, there are Hallels, public Torah readings, and miraculous prayers. The Scroll of Antiochus is read in some synagogues and houses. It is a Hanukkah story from the early Middle Ages. As part of the daily prayers, God is praised for his unfailing track record of turning evil into good and the strong into the weak. 

Jewish educators and Rabbis use the Hebrew word Hanukkah to convey to their communities and students that the holiday commemorates Jewish perseverance and strength.

Traditions that were non-religious

Aside from religious practices, Hanukkah is known for a few secular traditions. Potato pancakes (latkes), doughnuts (sufganiyot), and other oil-fried sweets are also eaten to remember the miracle of the oil.

Gifts of money, chocolate coins covered in gold foil, and other goodies are commonly given to children as Hanukkah gelt. In addition to other activities, children enjoy spinning a dreidel with a Hebrew sevivon (or four-sided top). At the top of each dreidel is a Hebrew letter, making the phrase "nes gadol haya sham," which translates to "a great miracle occurred there."

Some nations with widespread Christmas traditions celebrate Hanukkah with activities similar to Christmas, such as exchanging gifts or decorating homes, in honor of the miracle that occurred on the dreidel in modern Israel.

These are the things you should avoid during Hanukkah:

  • Avoid comparing it to Christmas: Hanukkah 2022 is not the Jewish answer to Christmas. Hanukkah has nothing to do with Christmas. It lasts eight nights and falls on the 25th day of Kislev in the Hebrew calendar. In the Gregorian calendar, the dates of Hanukkah are determined each year by lunar and solar cycles, but in the Hebrew calendar, they are determined by lunar patterns.
  • When you misspell it, don't overreact: Hanukkah is spelled in many ways. The Hebrew word Hanuka is transliterated as “Hanukkah” or “Chanukah.” In this annual debate, you might find different rabbis with different positions. If you aren't sure, stick with Happy Holidays instead of Happy Hanukkah. It's all about being kind, which is why the greeting exists in the first place.
  • Your Jewish friends can join you in celebrating non-Jewish things: You can invite them to a festive party or gathering even if they don't celebrate Christmas. Consider asking before participating in a Secret Santa or Christmas pageant with your Jewish friends, but don't overthink it if you're hosting a holiday get-together with food and drinks. 

Get in the Hanukkah spirit with our festive gift selection!

Hanukkah 2022 is a time of year that celebrates religious freedom and the oil miracle. It is also a time when families come together to share food and gifts. If you are looking for ideas about what to give your friends or family this year, we can help. Our team of experts at Gift Kosher has put together a list of traditional Kosher foods and embellishments that will make your gift-giving feel extra special. Visit our website today to learn more!

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