What do Jews do during Hanukkah?
Although Hanukkah is not an important religious holiday as it is not mentioned in the Jewish scripture, many traditional and non-traditional activities are performed during the festival. The only religious tradition during Hanukkah is the lighting of the candles. This is performed with the menorah which holds nine candles. There is one candle for each day of the celebration and a shamus which is at a different height to the other eight candles. On the first night of the holiday, the shamus it lit and then three blessings are recited. After the blessings, the shamus is then used to light the candle on the right end of the menorah. Each night on from then, a new candle is lit, going from the right side of the menorah to the left, using the shamus. The first two blessing are then recited. During the festival, it is traditional that Jews eat fried food as the oil has significance to the festival. Playing dreidel during the holiday is another Jewish tradition. It is a gambling game often played for match sticks, pennies, m&m’s and chocolate coins. To play, a square top is used which is marked with four Hebrew letters. Everyone playing puts in one item and then takes turns at spinning the square top. Whichever letter it lands on determines how much you win. The game is played until one person has everything that was put in. The winner then divides their prizes and shares them with everyone. A non-traditional but now very common action performed at Hanukkah is gift-giving. Gifts are given to Jewish children so that they don’t become jealous of their catholic friends, celebrating Christmas.