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Celebrating Together: Hanukkah

Published on Dec. 08, 2023

The end of the year marks a time many from around the world begin holiday celebrations. At Valley Children’s, we recognize and celebrate this time to be with loved ones and cherish our time together. To continue the holiday season, we would like to introduce you to Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights, to celebrate with your family. 

What is Hanukkah? 

Hanukkah is a holiday celebrated around the world. It originated in what is now the country of Israel and celebrates the religious freedom of the Jewish people. It is named the festival of lights because it is said after a tumultuous battle, the Jewish people came back to their temple with only enough oil to light lamps for one day. Miraculously, the oil lasted them eight days, which is why Hanukkah is celebrated for eight nights.  

To celebrate, many families light one candle every night on a menorah. A menorah is a candleholder that holds nine candles – one for each night of Hanukkah and one called a shamash, which is used to light the candles. Special blessings, songs and gifts are exchanged among the celebrants each night. There are also special foods eaten during this celebration period, such as potato pancakes known as latkes and deep-fried jelly donuts known as sufganiyot. Both of these foods represent the long-lasting oil used to light the lamps from Hanukkah’s origin.  

How to Celebrate Hanukkah with your Family 

  • Learn more about Hanukkah with videos like this one from Elmo and his friends! 

  • Listen to Hanukkah songs 

  • Share eight things you love about each other  

  • Create Hanukkah inspired crafts 

  • Play the traditional dreidel game 

  • Do a good deed 

For more information on how to celebrate Hanukkah, visit one of the resources below.  

Happy Hanukkah!