A Guide To Chanukah For Those Who Still Have No Clue What It Is
Start writing a post
Community

A Guide To Chanukah For Those Who Still Have No Clue What It Is

Tis' the season to be Jewish.

37
A Guide To Chanukah For Those Who Still Have No Clue What It Is

It's the most wonderful time of the year where everyone prepares months in advance for Christmas. Christmas decorations are put up, Christmas trees are being bought and presents are being wrapped. While all of that is going on for the majority of the world, there are a few of us who don't actually celebrate Christmas.

*GASP* I know right like who doesn't celebrate Christmas?

Me.

I celebrate Chanukah.

"Oh the Jewish version of Christmas, right?"

Well, no not exactly.

It's the holiday that many people just really don't know how it's celebrated or even why it is celebrated. Let me educate you for a moment so that you can understand more about the holiday.

Here are some key things to know about the holiday:

Hanukkah has nothing to do with Christmas

Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus. Well, Jewish people don't pray to Jesus so we wouldn't celebrate a holiday about him. Our holiday celebrates miracles that happened a long time ago. Here's the short story of Hannukah.

There was a time when Syrian-Greeks ruled the Holy Land and demanded that everyone accept the Greek way of life. They didn't want Jewish people to pray to G-d or to practice their religion. There was a huge battle where a small Jewish army miraculously defeated the big Greek army. That is the first miracle. The Greeks had destroyed the Holy Temple and when the Jews when inside to light the menorah, they only found oil that would last one night, but it actually lasted eight nights. That's the second miracle and why we celebrate the holiday for eight nights.

We don’t believe in Santa Claus

Traditionally, we do receive presents for each night of Hannukah, but we don't believe in Santa or any other kind of figure that brings us gifts. We know our parents or grandparents bought gifts.

We don’t spoil the secret about Santa

There must be some unspoken rule out there that we all agreed to not spoil the secret about Santa to kids. Even after my elementary school teacher said to my class that anyone who doesn't believe in Santa is stupid, I still never said anything.

Hanukkah is not the same time every year

We all know Christmas is December 25th every year. Hanukkah changes because it goes off of the Hebrew calendar which is based on the moon, not the sun. So for 2020, the first night of Hannukah starts on December 10. Last year it started the night of December 22. It changes each year so look at your calendar.

The name is spelled different ways

You may see it spelled Chanukah or Hannukah. Which one is correct? There really is no correct way to spell it because you are taking a Hebrew word and translating it. In Hebrew, there is a letter that makes the "ch" sound but we don't have just one letter to do that. That is why you will see it spelled with a "ch" or an "h". If you are sending someone a card or just trying to wish them a happy holiday just say "Happy Hannukah!"

We play dreidels

Dreidels are spinning tops. On each side of the top there is a letter. The four Hebrew letters are nun, gimel, hay and shin. They stand for a phrase that means a great miracle happened there referring to the miracles from the story. It's an easy game so if you are ever invited over to celebrate Chanukah, here's how to play.

You spin the dreidel and if it lands on a gimel you take everything in the pot which might be chocolate, coins, money, M&Ms or anything you want to use to play with. If it lands on a hay, you take half the pot. If it lands on a shin, you have to put one coin or piece of candy you are playing with back into the pot. If it lands on a nun, nothing happens.

We don’t get offended by Christmas or Christmas songs

I love Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You" as much as the next person. They are just songs. I always found it funny when the choir, orchestra and band in schools would always play five Christmas songs and then one Hannukah song. I'm only speaking for myself here, but I won't get offended if you don't include a Hannukah song. There are not that many out there and I don't really feel like playing "Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel" again.

That candle holder you have seen is called a menorah

On each night, we add another candle and light them. When we do this, we sing blessings and other songs.

We still work and go to school on Hanukkah

Every school is always closed for Christmas, but like I mentioned before Hannukah changes dates every year so we really don't eight days off for the holiday. Hanukkah is not a super religious holiday. It's definitely fun and a favorite among kids, but it's not a time where we need to take off from work to celebrate.

There is no such thing as a Hannukah tree or bush

Once again, that is a tradition to celebrate Christmas, not Hanukkah.

Yes, we do eat Chinese food and go to the movies on Christmas. It’s not a joke

It's an unofficial Jewish tradition. The reason for it is because the movies are open on Christmas as well as the Chinese restaurants.

We love Adam Sandler

Go watch Eight Crazy Nights. It's an Adam Sandler animated movie and it will help you understand the holiday better and it's funny which is a bonus.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Robert Bye on Unsplash

I live by New York City and I am so excited for all of the summer adventures.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

The invention of photography

The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.

177455

The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers

1634425

Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

1023495
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series

930560
Netflix

Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

607796
Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

How Young Feminists Can Understand And Subvert The Internalized Male Gaze

Women's self-commodification, applied through oppression and permission, is an elusive yet sexist characteristic of a laissez-faire society, where women solely exist to be consumed. (P.S. justice for Megan Fox)

390849
Paramount Pictures

Within various theories of social science and visual media, academics present the male gaze as a nebulous idea during their headache-inducing meta-discussions. However, the internalized male gaze is a reality, which is present to most people who identify as women. As we mature, we experience realizations of the perpetual male gaze.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

It's Important To Remind Yourself To Be Open-Minded And Embrace All Life Has To Offer

Why should you be open-minded when it is so easy to be close-minded?

503441

Open-mindedness. It is something we all need a reminder of some days. Whether it's in regards to politics, religion, everyday life, or rarities in life, it is crucial to be open-minded. I want to encourage everyone to look at something with an unbiased and unfazed point of view. I oftentimes struggle with this myself.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments