Hanukkah, the annual Festival of Lights, is celebrated with zeal by the Jewish people around the world. The eight-day festival begins on the 25th day of the month of Kislev as per the Hebrew calendar, which approximately falls in the late December. In 2008, Hanukkah will begin on 21st December. Hanukkah is celebrated to commemorate the victory of Judah Maccabee's Jewish army over the Greek soldiers and the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. It also celebrates the "Miracle of Oil" that is, the purified oil that lit the Menorah for eight days continuously.
The religious festival of Chanukkah spreads holiday cheers in every
Jewish household. Lighting the Menorah is the most important Hanukkah
tradition. One candle is lit on each night of Chanukkah. During the
festival, Jews decorate their houses beautifully with wooden dreidels
and the Star of David. Beautiful Hanukkah centerpiece placed on the
dining table reveals the decorative skills of the Jews. All through the
eight days of grand celebrations, people engage themselves in various
activities such as singing Hanukkah songs, Hanukkah prayers, playing
Hanukkah games, and making Hanukkah crafts.
Traditional Hanukkah dinner is cooked all through the eight days of the
festival. Oil is the key ingredient of the delicious cuisine. Some of
the traditional Hanukkah dishes are potato latkes, roasted chicken, and
yeast doughnuts. Gift giving is one of the important Chanukkah
traditions. Children receive small gifts from their parents. People
eagerly send Chanukkah gift baskets and Hanukkah flowers to their near
and dear ones, which is a glad way to say "Happy Hanukkah"!