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How to Celebrate Hanukkah

Hanukkah commemorates the battle to rededicate the Temple of Jerusalem and the miracle in which, according to tradition, a tiny bit of oil burned for eight days. Here's how to celebrate this Jewish holiday.


  • Step 1: Get a menorah Find a menorah, a candelabra with nine candleholders, one of which is set apart for the shamash, a candle used to light the others. Place it in a street-facing window to fulfill the commandment of publicizing the miracle.
  • Step 2: Light the candles On the first night, place one candle in the farthest right holder and light it with the shamash. On the next night, add a second candle to the left of the first one, lighting the newest one first. Continue for the next six nights for a total of eight.
  • TIP: On Friday nights, light the Hanukkah candles before the Shabbat candles. On Saturdays, light them after havdalah, the ceremony that ends Shabbat.
  • Step 3: Recite blessings As you light the candles, recite the two Hanukkah blessings. Afterward, sing Hanerot Halalu, which praises the defense of the Temple.
  • TIP: On the first night, add a third blessing to commemorate having lived to celebrate the holiday again.
  • Step 4: Play dreidel Spin a dreidel, one of the holiday's most recognized symbols; the letters on its side are the initials of a phrase that commemorates the Hanukkah miracle.
  • Step 5: Fry it up Cook and eat foods fried in oil to further reference the ancient miracle. Try making latkes, or potato pancakes, and sufganiyot, Israel's version of the jelly donut.
  • Step 6: Exchange gifts Give presents to other people who celebrate Hanukkah. Then sit together, gaze at the candles, and reflect on the festival of lights.
  • FACT: The tradition of having a menorah on the White House lawn began in 1979.

You Will Need

  • Menorah
  • Hanukkah candles
  • Dreidel
  • Fried foods
  • Presents

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