8 Fun Facts About Hanukkah That'll Get You In The Holiday Spirit

This is the Hanukkah video you need to see! The Big Bang Theory star, Mayim Bialik takes us through these 8 fun facts, as we learn more about Hanukkah and simultaneously get into the holiday spirit.


1) When is Hanukkah?

Unlike other holidays that are based off of the Solar Calendar, Hanukkah and other Jewish holidays are based off of the lunisolar calendar. This just means that the date for Hanukkah changes every year. It does however, always fall between late November and December, four days before the new moon. This year it will begin on the evening of Tuesday December 12 and conclude on Wednesday December 20.

2) What's the story behind Hanukkah?

Hanukkah commemorates the victory of a Jewish rebel army, the Maccabees, over the Seleucids (an ancient Hellenistic empire that ruled much of the Middle East) in 165 BCE and the subsequent re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem that had been desecrated. The historical context is the struggle between tradition and assimilation, a recurrent theme in Jewish history.

This is the reason why Hanukkah is celebrated over eight days. According to Jewish tradition, it celebrates a miracle: inside the Temple, the Maccabees found enough consecrated oil to light the eternal flame in the Temple for a single day but miraculously the oil lasted for eight days, long enough to produce new oil.

3) Hanukkah is NOT the "Jewish Christmas"

Hanukkah, or Chanukah, is a Jewish celebration that is held for eight days. Many people confuse Hanukkah with Christmas; often it is called the Jewish Christmas which is technically wrong. Jewish people do not celebrate Christmas, and many find it offensive when people call their celebration the Jewish Christmas.

Chanukah is a festival of light, the celebration dates back in history to a time when the Jewish people fought for their freedom and beliefs against the Greek. Christmas is celebrated by Christians and is more a religious celebration, while Hanukkah or Chanukah is a historical celebration. Some suggest that the belief in the light of their lives and faith is also part meaning of Hanukkah.

4) How widely celebrated is Hanukkah? How big of a deal is it?

Hanukkah is a post-biblical holiday. It was therefore traditionally for centuries a relatively minor Jewish holiday but it is now commonly observed by Jewish families, including many secular Jewish families.

5) Does Hanukkah involve gifting presents?

Children were traditionally gifted money ('gelt' in Yiddish) and now chocolate coins are traditionally given.

It has become quite common to give presents on each of the eight days. Some Jewish parents feel that they don't want to their children to miss out compared to children who celebrate Christmas, particularly in countries like the UK or US where there is such a long general build-up towards Christmas and where presents play such an important role.

6) What food is traditionally eaten over Hanukkah?

Food is always an important part of Jewish holidays and celebrations! Traditionally, food fried in oil (referencing the 'oil miracle') is eaten. These depend on the ethnic origin of the family but common are 'latkes' (potato pancakes) served with applesauce and sour cream and doughnuts ('sufganyot') filled with jam, dulce de leche etc.

"8 day festival of oily goodness," exclaims Mayim Bialik.

7) What is a Driedel?

The Hebrew word for dreidel is sevivon, which, as in Yiddish, means "to turn around." Dreidel s have four Hebrew letters on them, and they stand for the saying, Nes gadol haya sham, meaning A great miracle occurred there. In Israel, instead of the fourth letter shin, there is a peh, which means the saying is Nes gadol haya po — A great miracle occurred here.

Watch this video of Top Spin a year-round Dreidel competition!

A few years back, Major League Dreidel held the world's first doubles dreidel match in Brooklyn, NY. Eric Pavoney is 'the Knishiner' of the organization that promotes dreidel as a competitive sport. People come from all over to play the Hanukkah game. Their mission is to extend the dreidel season.

8) What is a Menorah?

Mainly observed at home with the family, Hanukkah involves lighting candles on the 'Hanukkiah' (or 'Hanukkah menorah') which is a special nine-branched candleholder. The ninth candle is the 'servant' who is used to light the other eight candles. Whereas, a Menorah is a 7-branched candleholder.

Happy Holidays!

Story Credit: Evening Standard

P.Ink Tattoos Help Survivors Reclaim Their Lives

Please Note: This video has emotional and graphic content. While our intention is to tell a beautiful story, the content - showing mastectomy scars and reconstructed breasts - can make some uncomfortable.

Most of us are either directly impacted or know someone affected by breast cancer. In recognition of this ongoing battle, OnlyGood.tv will be sharing several stories throughout October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, to shed light on how individuals and families are coping with this disease.

For some breast cancer survivors, losing their breasts was the only option. For a woman, that is a devastating loss. One tattoo artist is on a mission to help them turn their grief into confidence and hope through beautiful tattoos.

Keep reading... Show less

Goose, Guidance, and Gratitude - Random Acts Of Cooking (E2:P3)

St Benedict's Prep in Newark, New Jersey is devoted to educating young men to help them fulfill their potential. In the final part of this episode of Random Acts of Cooking, Chef Plum and the seven students from the cooking class get to serve and share the fantastic meal they prepared for their mentors, expressing their heartfelt thanks for their love and support that has shaped them from boys to men.

Keep reading... Show less

The Pink Glove Dance - Inspiring Millions Of Breast Cancer Survivors

Tens of thousands of people have put on their active wear and taken part in walks or runs to raise awareness about breast cancer over the years. Medline, a medical supplies company based in Northfield, Illinois, had their own idea. At their 11th Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Breakfast, nearly 1,000 operating nurses put on pink gloves and danced their best moves to help take the taboo off the disease, and open up conversations to help both the patient and their families.

Keep reading... Show less

Cooking To Say Thank You - Random Acts Of Cooking (E2:P2)

St Benedict's Prep in Newark, New Jersey is devoted to educating young men to help them fulfill their potential. In Part 2 of this 3 part episode of Random Acts of Cooking, Chef Plum is going to put the potential of seven students to a test that they have never faced - preparing, cooking, and presenting a celebratory meal in honor of their school teachers and mentors.

Keep reading... Show less

How to Reduce Stress In Large Crowds - Beat The Fear With Joe Leonardo (E2)

Giant video display boards, human sized cartoon characters, subway stations, police on horseback, the Naked Cowboy, 42nd Street, massive New Year's Eve celebrations… there's only one Times Square. All this and being in the heart of New York City makes it an exciting destination … unless you have a fear of crowds. In this episode of Beat The Fear, host Joe Leonardo plunges himself into these streets at "the crossroads of the world" to test some techniques for dealing with the stress of being around so many people in such a small space.

Keep reading... Show less

St. Benedict’s Boys Cook to Honor Mentors - Random Acts Of Cooking (E2:P1)

"I've only been good at two things in my life," says Chef Plum, "and that's cooking food and talking". So, what is a Chef to do who has so much love in his heart and wants to share it? In this episode of Random Acts of Cooking, Chef Plum visits St. Benedict's Preparatory School in Newark, New Jersey where he is connecting with a group of boys in the Culinary Program to guide them through the preparation of a celebratory meal in honor of their school teachers and mentors.

Keep reading... Show less
Series - Caly On The Good

Growing Up, Breaking Through, Recording More - Caly on the Good (E10)

An artist's day to day creative decisions are the jet fuel for the arc of their career - it either launches them up to that next higher level or they only build up enough momentum to drift along. In this episode of Caly On the Good, we see Caly as she wrestles with what her next move should be in order to become more recognized by record labels while still being a voice of positivity and good.

Keep reading... Show less

The Final Countdown – The Creation Of Us (S2:E9)

It's the final countdown! Christen's due date is less than a month away and she and Heather cannot wait to meet their little baby girl. In this episode of The Creation Of Us, the couple will go over their birthing plan and review the steps they need to follow once Christen starts going into labor.

Keep reading... Show less
Watch and Subscribe
It's a Positivity Movement
OnlyGood TV on YouTube

mailbox

Get your Only Good TV Newsletter