Every year around the holidays, our non-Jewish friends and coworkers start asking a lot of questions about Hanukkah. For the most part, people know at least a little bit about our eight crazy nights, but may not really know the basics. In an effort to share in our festivities (that start tonight at sundown) we came up with 10 basic facts about Hanukkah that we think you should know for your Jewish coworkers and buddies.
1. The date of Hanukkah changes every year because it goes by the Hebrew calendar. This year on the Hebrew calendar is 5774. The next time Thanksgiving and the first day of Hanukkah will be on the same day is in 79,811 years.
2. Hanukkah starts at sundown tonight, and will go for eight days.
3. Hanukkah is known as “The Festival of Lights” and was not originally a gift-giving holiday. In modern times it has become one because it has been celebrated around Christmas.
4. Presents are usually only bought for the children.
5. During Hanukkah there are usually smaller presents given each night, with the largest gift given on the eighth night.
6. Traditionally children play a game called Dreidel, which is a gambling game with a four-sided spinning top.
7. The reason why there are eight nights of Hanukkah is because when the holy temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, there was only enough oil for the Temple light to last one night — but it ended up lasting eight.
8. We typically eat latkes (potato pancakes) with sour cream or applesauce, and they are delicious.
9. The Menorah is traditionally lit from right to left, and each night you light another candle until all eight are lit on the eighth night.
10. Children typically exchange chocolate money; however, we will never turn a piece down if offered.
Happy Hanukkah and Thanksgiving from our families to yours!
This has been a public service announcement from Brightwing CMO David Chernow and Brightwing friend Ira Berkowitz.