8 Facts You Never Knew About Hanukkah!

When it comes to Hanukkah, we all know there will be lights, we’re certain there will be latkes and like any Jewish celebration, there definitely will be *leftovers*! But when it comes to the Festival of Lights, there’s so many interesting facts and stories most of us don’t know about! In Judaism, light is often affiliated with knowledge or enlightenment, so we’ve dug up 8 facts to hone in on this Hanukkah season!

 

 

  1. There are approximately 16 ways to spell the holiday’s name and all are acceptable! From the more standard “Hanukkah” and “Chanukah” to the less common variations like “Hanuka” and “Chanuka” this holiday seems to be a Spelling Bee that nearly everyone can win! No need to spell check your cards this year but if you want a little guidance check out one of our newest designs here!

  2. The first Hanukkah may have actually been a delayed Sukkot celebration! Ancient letters and the Second Book of Maccabees suggest that since the Jews were fighting and defending themselves during the weeklong celebration of Sukkot during the year of the uprising (in roughly 164 BCE), the holiday was postponed until after the recapture of Jerusalem and the return to the Temple.

  3. Each year in Israel, approximately 17.5 million Sufganiyot, or jelly donuts, are eaten over the course of Hanukkah. For a country with roughly 7 million Jews, I’d say that’s pretty sweet! (Wink, wink)

  4. While Spinning the Dreidel has become a timeless tradition at countless Hanukkah parties, the tradition is actually quite new! Many scholars believe the dreidel was derived from Teetotum, the English version of a spinning top before it made its way to Germany where it was called “Drehen,” which translates to “spin.” It is said that Yiddish speakers adapted this and called it a “Dreidel.” While this may be true, there’s another school of thought that sources the Dreidel to Greek Jews, who used the toy as a vehicle for teaching kids about the Torah at a time when practicing their religion was punishable by law. If authorities saw the spinning toy, they thought it was affiliated with gambling, not Jewish teachings. Jewish humor at its finest, I’d say.

  5. Another fun fact about the Dreidel: in America, Europe and elsewhere we spin a dreidel with four Hebrew letters on each side: Nun, Gimmel, Hay and Shin, an abbreviation for Nes Gadol Haya Sham or “A great miracle happened there” in honor of the rededication of the Temple but in Israel, the Shin is swapped for a Peh, for “Po” which translates to “A great miracle happened here!”

  6. While most of us know Hanukkah to mean the “Festival of Lights” the actual translation comes from the Hebrew word “Hinuch” or “To Teach.”

  7. The biggest Menorah in the world stands at 32 feet tall, weighs roughly 4,000 pounds and resides on 59th street near the Central Park entrance. It was designed by Israeli artist Yaacov Agam.

  8. Over the years, lighting the Menorah has become a Presidential tradition! The first president to receive a Menorah was Harry Truman in 1951 who received it as a birthday gift from David Ben-Gurion. However, Jimmy Carter was the first president to take official notice of the holiday in 1979, with each proceeding president following suit ever since.

 

We hope these facts bring some enlightenment and entertainment to your holiday season and we hope you celebrate with your loved ones this year with our fun Gift Items, Adorable Hanukkah Clothing & Heartwarming Hanukkah Greeting Cards! Don't forget, we also have new Hanukkah gift wrap with our unique designs!

 

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