A joyous holiday that celebrates a miracle of long ago, Hanukkah (also spelled Hannukah or Chanukkah) is a time for Jewish families to gather together for prayers, food, games, and much more. Usually occurring around the same time as the Christian holiday of Christmas, Hanukkah has emerged through the centuries from a simple remembrance that involved lighting candles and reciting traditional prayers to something more elaborate and celebratory.
These days, especially in America, children look forward to receiving lots of gifts and enjoying traditional foods like latkes (potato pancakes), loukoumades (deep-fried puffs dipped in honey and sugar), and sufganiyot (Israeli jelly doughnuts).
The Hebrew word Hanukkah means "dedication" and the holiday that bears the name commemorates the rededication of the holy temple in Jerusalem after the Jews defeated the Syrians in 165 B.C. Prior to the defeat, the King of Syria had outlawed all Jewish rituals and demanded that the Jews worship traditional Greek Gods. Some Jews decided to fight back.
Hanukkah begins at sundown on the evening before the date below:
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