Hanukkah is a Jewish festival, which continues for eight consecutive days. Also known as the 'Festival of Lights', it is celebrated to commemorate the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, which took place at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE. As per the Hebrew calendar, the festival commences on the 25th day of Kislev. With regard to Jewish traditions, Hanukkah is observed by kindling the lights of a special candelabrum, known as the Menorah or Hanukiah.
Starting from first night, one light is lit on each night till the eighth one. Along with this, an additional light called 'shamash' is also lit each night, which is placed higher than the others. After all the candles are lit on the eighth day, prayers are recited to seek the blessings of the Lord. Once, the religious practices are over, its time for fun and frolic. As the festival calls in for holidays, it is considered incomplete without a Hanukkah party. It is the greatest time for celebration and the spirit of festivity surmounts everything else.
The party is all about decorating the place with special Hanukkah crafts that can be either bought from the market or handmade at home. This is one of the special fetes for children as they enjoy preparing different crafts and playing games with family and friends. Just like any other party, this one is also spice-less without traditional Hanukkah food. One of the most popular delicacies prepared at Hanukkah is potato pancake. Moreover, the majority of dishes prepared on the occasion are prepared in oil, as a remembrance of the oil that burned in the temple.
Apart from this, exchange of gifts is customary on Hanukkah. In olden days, children were given 'gelt', which is a Yiddish word for money. However, the sum of money used to be in small coins, given by grandparents and other relatives. Though the tradition still continues today, children now receive official Hanukkah gifts from friends and family. In addition, people greet each other by sending Hanukkah cards and messages. Therefore, Hanukkah is that time of the year, when everybody is in a holiday mood and wants to enjoy to the fullest.