So Hannukah begins tonight at sundown til sundown January 1. It’s been a bit of a busy day in the kitchen making sure food is cooked for the lighting of the candles and make sure no one has eaten all the Latkes and Sufganiyot beforehand!
But – What is Hanukkah?
Yes this week this has been a hot topic on my Facebook personal page. I think the main questions I’ve had are these ones:
- What is Hanukkah?
- What does it symbolise?
- What is the difference between Hannukah, Chanukah and Hanukkah?
- What is with all the fried food?
- Why does it fall around Christmas time?
The significance behind Hanukkah is that we are celebrating the Maccabees victory over the Greco-Syrian forces and the miracle of oil burning for eight days when their was only enough oil to last for one.
In rememberance of this, the household menorah is lit for eight days, and fried foods, in particular items such as Potato Pancakes called Latkes and Jam Donuts called Sufganiyot are eaten.
It is a very misunderstood holiday – one reason is the timing of it falling around Christmas time – actually it’s set on the same date every year in the Jewish calendar (25 Kislev) but the Jewish calendar is a lunar calendar hence why one year it might begin on Christmas Day and the next year it begins a fortnight earlier.
There is no difference between Hannukah, Chanukah and Hanukkah, it’s the same event, same pronunciation the only difference is the spelling. It’s up to you how you spell it, my partner calls it Hanukkah, I might say Hannukah, my in laws call it Chanukah.
Naturally people assume that because it falls around Christmas time, that it is the Jewish Christmas. This is not true, however we may get presents, but this depends on each family. My partner and I give each other presents and do not restrict our religious customs to not celebrate Christmas with others.
So I am doing a very untraditional Hannukah this year with a very much not kosher bacon wrapped Turducken roast meal with all the trimmings, Latkes and shop bought Sufganiyot.
I have also had invites for a Christmas breakfast and lunch tomorrow with family. I don’t even have a menorah to light the candles (birthday candles anyone?)
However, what is traditional in my home is the sundown meal am still having the traditional Latkes, Sufganiyot and Gelt (Chocolate Coins) on Tuesday 27 December, I am heading into Brisbane to celebrate Hanukkah with the Chabad Brisbane society’s Chanukah in the City.
I will be filming at Chanukah in the City on Tuesday so I can give you a better understanding of what happens during Hanukkah.