25 Day Holiday Countdown! Day 12: Hanukkah Celebrations


Credit: Pixabay user RJG1988

As the eight days of Hanukkah go by, people add a new candle each night from right to left.

Lauren Medeiros and Emily Staiti

This year Hanukkah started on Dec. 10. and it ends on Dec. 18. During this holiday season, the Jewish community celebrates at night by lighting candles and saying prayers for eight days. Often this holiday is referred to as the “Festival of Lights” and it is celebrated with the lighting of the menorah, playing games, exchanging gifts and eating traditional foods.

During Hanukkah, people often spend time with families and go to services at their local temple. Many families have different traditions on this holiday regarding games, food, lighting the menorah and spending time with extended family.

“Some traditions my family does for Hanukkah is that we play dreidel, light the menorah every night, have a big meal and give presents every other night,” senior Jennie Rosen said.

Families, friends and temples gather together to commemorate the history of Hanukkah which is the oil that kept the candles burning for eight days on the temple’s Menorah. People often engage in large feasts and chant prayers.

“My family gets together for a big dinner that consists of latkes, blitzes, gelt, and berry crumble,” Rosen said. “Also we engage in prayers.”

Due to COVID-19 this year, holiday plans had been majorly affected for communities and families. As numbers start to spike up this winter, most celebrations are kept small with only family members that they live with.

“Hanukkah is much different this year because we can’t get together with my extended family,” senior Maddie Yaffe said. “My grandparents are at high risk, so I will just be celebrating with my close family.”

A big part of this Jewish holiday is going to temple to rejoice among the community. However, COVID-19 has affected this, causing people to seek different ways to participate in the services.

“Every Friday we try to go on zoom for services,” Rosen said. “Although I wish we were in temple, this is a good way to stay engaged.”

This past year had been filled with many hardships and losses due to the pandemic. For this holiday season, some families have decided to integrate giving back into their traditions to help those in need.

“This year we are giving back to the people who are in need, instead of exchanging gifts within the family,” junior Sophie Ellenbogen said.