Hanukkah Fun Facts

While working on new menus, we came across the following and opted to repost.  Very interesting.

Info Guru, Catalogs.com

Challenge your Hanukkah knowledge with some well known and little know facts

It's almost time for Hanukkah!  If you're new to the holiday, or you're looking for some facts to share with friends or students, here are some Hanukkah facts to get you in the holiday mood.

-Unlike most spelling words you remember from school, Hanukkah can be correctly spelled many different ways, including Chanukah, Chanukkah, and Hanukah.

-It is probably the Jewish holiday with which non-Jews are most familiar, due to its proximity to Christmas.

-Despite years of teachers including Hanukkah in their "Christmas Around the World" lessons, Hanukkah is not the "Jewish Christmas" - it historically predates Christmas and had a very different origin.

-The story of Hanukkah is not mentioned in the Torah. The events that led up to the holiday happened after the Torah period in 164 B.C.E.

- Hanukkah starts on the 25th of the month of Kislev.  But because the Hebrew calendar is lunar rather than solar, it can fall anywhere from November to early January on the standard calendar.

- In 2008, Hanukkah will begin at sundown on December 21st.  In 2009, it will start at sundown on December 11th. For non-Jews this is one of the most confusing Hanukkah facts, because they never know when the holiday will fall.

- For most of its history, Hanukkah has been a minor holiday, but in the late 1800's it gained in popularity, eventually becoming one of the most celebrated Jewish holidays in the calendar.

- Gift–giving is not traditionally associated with Hanukkah. At most a small amount of money or a sweet would be given to children.  As Hanukkah became more popular in the U.S. and Canada, the idea of 8 nights of gifts grew in acceptance.

- The 9-branched candelabra that holds the Hanukkah candles is called a Hanukkiah.  Many people, including some Jews, refer to it as a menorah.  But a menorah actually has 7 branches and is associated with the Temple.

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