This year, Hanukkah begins on Sunday, November 28, at sundown. Learn around Hanukkah history, customs, and a few traditional recipes!


What Is Hanukkah?

Hanukkah (also spelled “Chanukah”) is an eight-day winter “festival that lights,” which begins each year on the 25th day that the Jewish month of Kislev.

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Because the Hebrew calendar is based ~ above the lunar cycle, the dates of Jewish holidays follow to the Gregorian calendar adjust from year to year. For this reason, the beginning of Hanukkah can selection from so late November to late December.

In short, Hanukkah commemorates the rededication that the holy place in Jerusalem after ~ a group of Jewish warriors defeated the occupying Greek armies. The festival celebrates the triumph the light end darkness and also of spirituality end materiality. Read on to learn much more about the background of Hanukkah.

When Is Hanukkah?

In 2021, Hanukkah begins at sundown ~ above Sunday, November 28, and continues with Monday, December 6. The very first candle is lit top top the Chanukiah (menorah) on the an initial night of Hanukkah.

Note: Hanukkah begins and ends in ~ sundown on the dates provided below. View Sunrise and Sunset Times for your area.

Hanukkah Dates

YearHanukkah BeginsHanukkah Ends
2021Sunday, November 28Monday, December 6
2022Sunday, December 18Monday, December 26
2023Thursday, December 7Friday, December 15
2024Wednesday, December 25Thursday, January 2, 2025

A Short background of Hanukkah

This festival commemorates occasions that took ar in Judea more than 2,000 years ago, as soon as the Syrian king Antiochus notified the Jews to abandon the Torah and publicly prayer the Greek gods.

This plot provoked a rebellion led through Judas Maccabeus, climaxed through the retaking the the temple in Jerusalem, which had been desecrated through the Syrians. The military of Jews won, despite their small numbers.

In one eight-day celebration, the “Maccabees” (as the rebels became known) cleansed and also rededicated the Temple. 

According come the Talmud, there to be only enough consecrated oil come re-light the candelabra for one day, yet, miraculously, it stayed lit for eight days.

What Does the word “Chanukah” (or “Hanukkah”) Mean?

The word chanukah way “inauguration” or “dedication.” after the rebellion, the holy place was in ruin, consisting of the alter. The Maccabees hidden the stones that the altar and built a brand-new one. Thus, Hanukkah celebrates the rededication the the divine Temple and the altar.

How carry out you pronounce “Hanukkah”? The Hebrew indigenous is actually pronounced with a guttural, “kh” sound, kha-nu-kah, not tcha-new-kah.

How Hanukkah is Celebrated

The central feature the the observance that is the nightly lighting of the Chanukiah or menorah, an eight-branched candelabra through a location for a nine candle, the shammes, supplied to light the others.

One candle is lit on the an initial night of Hanukkah, and an additional candle is lit ~ above each succeeding night, until, ~ above the eighth night, the Chanukiah is fully illuminated.

Hanukkah is additionally called the Feast of lamp or Festival that Lights due to the importance of the candle-lighting.

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Potato latkes with sour cream and chives. Picture Credit: GreenArt/Shutterstock

Hanukkah Recipes to Try

Traditional Hanukkah recipes include foods fried in oil, come commemorate the initial miracle of the oil. Dairy commodities are additionally popular during Hanukkah. 

Some of the most popular foods include latkes (fried potato pancakes), applesauce, sufganiyot (deep-fried or jelly doughnuts), and rugelach pastries. See much more Hanukkah recipes!

Many Hanukkah meals are eaten communally to bring together friends and also family, specifically if they require to reconcile.

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Colorful dreidels. Photo by Adiel lo/Wikimedia Commons.

Hanukkah Customs

Consumer presents are no a custom; the menorah’s candles room meant to recall the miracle—and focus on this spiritual purpose. Traditionally, money was offered to charity, with an ext given each day as the candles were lit. This originated v the need for even the bad to have money because that the candles, so they could go door-to-door there is no any shame.

It is also customary top top Hanukkah to offer money (called Hanukkah gelt) to children, and to play games through the dreidel—a four-sided rotate top. The Hebrew letters published on the sides of a dreidel are an acronym that represents the phrase Nes Gadol Hayah Sham, “a great miracle occurred there”—a referral to the wonder of the oil.

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Do you celebrate Hanukkah? If friend do, you re welcome share your family’s traditions below!

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Learn around other far-reaching Jewish holidays, such together Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Passover.