Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Hanukkah



Each night, for eight nights, light a branch of a menorah from left to right. The middle and tallest branch of the candelabra houses the shamash (attendant candle) that is used to light the other candles.
While it has become customary to give gifts on Hanukkah, the tradition stems from the influence of Christmas. Usually gift-giving is reserved for younger children. The only traditional gift on the holiday is “gelt” or small amounts of money.

What’s a dreidel?
On Hanukkah, children play with dreidels -- square tops. Each side is marked with one of the four Hebrew letters, Nun, Gimel, Hei and Shin, which stands for "Nes Gadol Hayah Sham," a great miracle happened there.

What’s to eat?
Fried foods are a must for Hanukkah since the story focuses on the small drop of oil that lasted eight nights. Latkes, also known as potato pancakes, are a popular dish served throughout the holiday. Deep-fried doughnuts are also popular among Sephardic, Greek and Persian Jews.

Hanukkah or Chanukah?

The word Hanukkah literally means “dedication” or “induction.” Since Hanukkah is a Hebrew word, there’s not one proper transliteration. In English it takes on these two popular spellings. While either is correct the one beginning with “H” is the more widely used version – most likely because of the confusion of the ch sound when transliterated from Hebrew to English. 

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