Hanukkah - the Jewish festival of lights

Photo by alex ringer from https://freeimages.com/

Hanukkah is the Jewish festival of lights and this year is celebrated for 8 days by Jewish members of our community.

The date changes each year. In 2020 it is celebrated from Thursday 10th December to Friday 18th December.

The festival celebrates the re-dedication of the Temple of Jerusalem after it was retaken by a group of Jewish warriors, the Maccabees, from the Greeks almost 2000 years ago, after the Greeks had banned all Jewish rituals.

Even though the Maccabees took back the Temple, it had been destroyed. They cleaned it up and then lit an oil lamp. But then something miraculous happened - although they only had oil for the lamp to burn for 1 day, it burned for 8 days! This is why Hanukkah is 8 days long, and why light is a really important part of the celebration.

What do people do during Hanukkah?

To celebrate, children are given gifts and money during Hanukkah, and a special eight-branched candlestick is used to burn candles. It is called a menhorah or hanukiah.

People also eat special food, for example latkes which are a kind of fried potato fritter, donuts and pancakes.

A special game is usually played with a four sided spinning top called a dreidel. Everyone takes it in turns to spin the dreidel, and depending on which side it lands on they they either do nothing, win or lose some 'tokens'. What the tokens are can vary - it could be sweets or nuts or dried fruit.

Adiel lo, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Create a menhorah carnival headdress!

Our artists have created a menhorah headdress which you can make at home from paper, colouring pens or pencils and tape or glue. Click here for full instructions.


We have found some great resources around which you can use to learn more about Hanukkah, or to celebrate by colouring and drawing Hanukkah celebration images.

Sun of David Sun Catcher

This beautiful suncatcher can be made using materials at home. You can find full instructions on the education.com website here

Ice Lolly Stick Menorah

If you have some lolly sticks available, then you can make this lovely menorah with candles craft from creativejewishmom.com - click here for the instructions.


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