Eight nights of Hanukkah give Jewish families the opportunity to celebrate traditions


Emily Lotito

After all eight nights, the menorah burns brigthly

by Emily Lotito, Reporter

During the eight nights of Hanukkah, people light the candles in their menorah and play with the dreidel. People eat foods fried in oil like potato pancakes called Latkas  and jelly-filled doughnuts. Families exchange gifts every night while kids eat chocolate coins.

During Hanukkah, my family doesn’t do all the “traditional” kosher rules or eat the traditional kosher dinners but we do eat matzo ball soup and challah.

We give out presents on the first and eighth night since we also get presents Christmas. We also play dreidel with chocolate coins and money.

Other families do different traditions like ours. Lexi Keeling and her family cook latkas on the first night of Hanukkah and eats them for the rest of the week. She hangs up Star of David lights along the fireplace and has a countdown to the first night of Hanukkah. Keeling also says she plays dreidel with her brother but with real money not chocolate gold coins.

“Even thought I’m seventeen and my brother is thirteen, we still play the dreidel,” Keeling said.

At services, the Rabbi gathers the kids up and tells a story about the eights nights of Hanukkah.

The story behind the eights nights and candles is about when the Maccabees fought against Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the group of soldiers fought to gain their rights to worships their g-d not the Greek g-ds like Antiochus wanted. The Maccabees fought off Antiochus andwon the battle. The leader Judah Maccabeus(son of the Jewish priest Mattathias Maccabeus), lead his followers to cleanse the Second Temple. They rebuilt the altar and light the temple’s menorah; there was only enough oil fro the candles to be light for one day but it lasted for eight.

Now every year, Jewish families across the globe celebrate the success of the Maccabees by lighting the menorah with eight candles including the Shammash.