My family is both Jewish and Catholic so I celebrate two sets of holidays. I want to share a little about Hanukkah because most people I know only celebrate Christmas. Hanukkah is a celebration of the re-dedication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem during the second century B.C. The Jewish people had risen up against their Greek-Syrian oppressors in the “Maccabean Revolt.” The Jewish people were in the temple and only had enough oil to light the candles for one night. The candle holder which is called a menorah is now used to remember the miracle which was that light in the temple stayed lit for eight days. Eight days gave the Jewish people enough time to make new oil.
This was a miracle because the Greek-Syrian oppressors had contaminated most of the pure oil that the Jewish people had, in fact they only had one container of pure oil. It took eight days to make more oil. Astonishingly the oil lasted for the whole time.
That is the reason for the eight days of Hanukkah. Hopefully, this tradition will live for many years to come.
My family traditions on this holiday, like most people, are to light the menorah. On the first day we light two candles. One of the candles is called the shamash. This is the tallest candle and it is used to light the other eight candles. Everyday of Hanukkah we light the shamash first. On the last day of Hanukkah, our family goes to my aunt’s house and open our presents as well as play some games. After all of that is done, we eat bagels, pigs in a blanket (mini hot dog sandwich), and pizza. Many people eat potato latkes on Hanukkah which are potato pancakes; however, my family prefers pizza. When we are done we go home and end our night with a long awaited sleep.