Every year, Jewish families come together to celebrate the Festival of Lights, also known as Hanukkah. The holiday is celebrated with festive foods, gifts, games and most importantly, lighting the menorah for each of the eight nights of Hanukkah. Every family may celebrate Hanukkah differently, but there are popular traditions commonly practiced in many Jewish households.
When we think of Hanukkah, we think of the lighting of the menorah. One candle is lit by the centre candle known as the Shamash for each of the eight nights of Hanukkah. If you’re interested in reading about how the menorah lighting came to be, we wrote a blog last year on the historical beginnings of Hanukkah.
Hanukkah foods are fried in oil as a reminder of the miraculous oil that lasted for eight days during the rededication of the holy Second Temple. Latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jam-filled doughnuts) are popular traditional treats in many Jewish homes.
The dreidel game is a family favourite. The spinning top has four sides that bear four Hebrew letters: nun (take nothing), gimmel (take everything), hey (take half) and shin (put one in). Each player starts with 10 or 15 coins and one coin is placed in the centre pot. Players take turn spinning the dreidel to see which side falls down until one person has all the coins.
How do you celebrate the Festival of Lights? For the City of Vaughan, a special menorah-lighting ceremony will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 27 at 3:30 p.m. at the Garnet A. Williams Community Centre. Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua and Members of Council invite you to join in and witness the lighting of the fourth candle to mark the fourth night of Hanukkah. The celebration will include traditional treats.
Visit the City of Vaughan’s website at vaughan.ca.