Hanukkah is a special eight-day winter holiday celebrated by Jewish families around the world. Understanding the history of Hanukkah will add greater meaning to your celebration at Beverly Hills Carmel this holiday season.
History of Hanukkah
Hanukkah originated during the second century BCE when Israel was under the rule of the Syrian-Greek Empire. The Greek ruler Antiochus IV compelled Jews to abandon their faith and adopt Greek culture and philosophies. A rebellion ensued in which Jewish fighters — against all odds — defeated the Greeks, reclaimed their homeland and took back the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.
The Jews immediately made plans to rededicate the Temple to God. The ceremony included an eight-day lighting of the Menorah to purify the Temple. To their dismay, they discovered there was only one pure cruse of oil left to light the Menorah for one day. Miraculously, this one cruse lasted the entire eight days, enabling the Jews to complete the rededication process. Hanukkah is observed in remembrance of this miracle performed by God.
Why Celebrate Hanukkah?
Under second century Greek rule, the Jews were prohibited from practicing their religious beliefs. Their Temple was taken over by the Greeks and converted into a pagan tabernacle. Jewish fighters fought and died to preserve the culture, Temple and faith of their people. Hanukkah commemorates the miracles God performed to preserve Jewish culture and beliefs. By observing Hanukkah with friends from Beverly Hills Carmel, you can unite as a community to celebrate and appreciate your Jewish faith.
How to Celebrate Hanukkah
Hanukkah, also known as the “festival of lights,” can be celebrated by observing any number of traditional customs. Here are a few ideas for commemorating this festive occasion with loved ones.
Menorah and Prayers. Lighting the menorah is a long-standing tradition during Hanukkah in remembrance of the cruse of oil miracle. As the menorah is lit, it’s customary to recite traditional Hanukkah prayers.
Hanukkah Food. Hanukkah food consists mainly of fried foods, also in remembrance of the miracle oil. Potato latke, beef briskets, pancakes, loukoumades (honey puffs) and doughnuts are some of the most popular dishes prepared during this time. When celebrating Hanukkah as a community, have everyone bring a potluck dish to your Beverly Hills Carmel home or clubhouse for the festivities.
Gift Giving. As Hanukkah is celebrated around the same time as Christmas, gift giving has become a new tradition in modern times. Children can be given one small gift for each of the eight days of Hanukkah or one large gift at the end of the festivities. You can also give "gelt" (chocolate coins) to your grandkids at your Hanukkah party to symbolize the giving of money to the poor in ancient times.
Games. Dreidel is a traditional game played at Hanukkah. The game can be homemade or purchased at many local stores.
At Beverly Hills Carmel, you can preserve your Jewish culture and customs with like-minded individuals who share your faith. For a tour of our luxury retirement community, call 310-278-9720 today.