Festival of Lights coming to close

Seasonal celebrations come in many forms and some among us are commemorating Hanukkah, often called the Festival of Lights.

The name comes from the Hebrew word meaning “to dedicate” and also refers to the eight candles, which are lit daily during the festival. Traditionally, they should burn for a half hour after dark at least and are given a special blessing.

During the holidays, many families exchange small gifts such as books or games each night and fried foods are often eaten as a nod to the importance of oil. Some Hasidic and Sephardi Jews recite psalms and post-lighting, songs are often sung, too.

In 2012, Hanukkah began on Saturday, 8 December, which means it ends this year in the evening of Sunday, 16 December. The last day is known as Zot Hanukkah.

Some traditional foods

Latkes (potato pancakes)

Pontshkes / sufganiyot (filled doughnuts)

Bimuelos (fritters)

Cheese

Some traditional gifts

Dreidel (a kind of spinning top)

Hanukkah gelt (small coins given to children)

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