The true meaning of Hanukkah

The true meaning of Hanukkah

As Hanukkah draws to a close tonight, senior Naomi Peterson will be lighting eighth and final candle on her family’s menorah. She will also light the candle in the middle, the shamash, which sits above the other candles on the menorah. The shamash was used traditionally for practical lighting purposes, as the other candles are only to be used for meditation.

“After lighting the candles, we eat a dinner of food that has been soaked in oil,” Peterson said.
“It’s pretty chill. Although, with Thanksgiving overlapping this year, America’s cardiologists were busy.”

The story of The Festival of Lights took place after Jewish homeland was conquered by Alexander the Great. At the time, there was very little oil left that hadn’t been polluted by the Greeks. However the temples still needed oil to light their ever-burning candles. There was only enough oil to burn for one day, yet, the oil burned for eight. Thus, Jews celebrate the miracle of the oil.

“Hanukkah is actually a pretty minor holiday,” Peterson said. “Yom Kippur is a lot more important. Usually Hanukkah is just brought up because it is around Christmastime. Sometimes Jewish people like to stick it to the Christians.”

Nonetheless, Jewish traditions are still observed throughout the week.

“We play dreidel games with beans and gelt,” Peterson said. “It’s hard to throw off the shackles of Jewish stigma when we give our children chocolate money.”

What’s your favorite Hanukkah tradition? What is your opinion on Chanukkah? Let us know in the comments!