Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Hanukkah - The Festival of Lights

Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday that honors a war victory. In ancient times, the king of Syria tried to force the Greek religion on the Jews. His armies installed idols in the Temple and priests sacrificed pigs to the Greek gods. An old man and his sons fled to the hills and organized a rebellion. After a narrow victory, one of the old man’s sons reclaimed the Holy Temple.

Once back inside the Temple, the soldiers could only find enough oil to light the lamps for one day. However, the purification process takes eight days. Miraculously, the oil burned for exactly eight days.

Hanukkah is in December and it lasts for eight days. Today, in celebration, Jews fry latkes aka potato pancakes in lots of oil, to symbolize the victory and miracle oil.

The event is commemorated by lighting a nine-pronged candelabra, called a menorah. On the first day, one candle is lit and for each consecutive day, another one is added. The candles must not be blown out, they must burn until they go out by themselves.

Jews traditionally place the menorah in the window both to celebrate Hanukkah and as a symbol of pride in being Jewish.

Hanukkah gifts are small and gift giving is not wide spread. Jews don’t give gifts to all their friends and colleagues like people do at Christmas. According to tradition, young children get small gifts or gelt (money in Yiddish) each day for eight days. Ssshhh…..don’t tell Olivia.

It is my in-laws tradition to give gelt to their children on Hanukkah. This is what I got.


Wuching said...

your husband is jewish?

Hooi Imm said...

wuching - yes la...

The New Parent said...

Hi hi--so, I just came back from the market with potato latkes. Interesting, my little one is learning Spanish and ... Hebrew (smile).

Some combination, eh?

Sue said...

Wah..eight days..presents...the kids would love would I..hehe

U.Lee said...

Hi Hooi Imm, I was at Beachlover's place putting my 25 cents worth of comment and noticed your lovely profile pic.
Never can resist a pretty face, ha ha, I kaypoh over.
Wow! Today I learn about 'Hanukkah'. Now I know. Nice story Hooi Imm.
I like your blog too.
Best regards, and keep warm, UL.

Rita Ho said...

Hi Hooi Imm ... I am more educated about Hanukkah after reading your post. Thank you!

Thanks also for dropping by my blog. I like yours too and have taken the liberty of adding it to my links for easier access. :)

Ahna said...

Your pictures are great. I only had potato pancakes once but never tried to make them. Good job giving getting the $50. I think that is so funny. We should start that tradition here! Ahna

Hooi Imm said...

NP - that is great. She is going to be multilingual. Do you or your wife speak Hebrew?

Sue - yeah...eight days. Nice but only for little kids. As you grow older, you only get one...hehe

Uncle lee - thanks for dropping by la...I paiseh you say I'm pretty...hehe

Rita - glad to see you here. I have linked you too.

Ahna - I have never made latkes as well (only see my MIL do it) but you have to shread the potatoes. With a food processor, it's easy but if by hand, it's a lot of work.

Cat Cat said...

Hooi Imm,
Happy Hannukah... Hannukah is like CNY for chinese lah.. Received "Ang Pou" from the elderly... :)

Hooi Imm said...

Cat - almost la...but for CNY, married people don't get 'ang pow' :-)

Zawi said...

hooi imm,
This is a reciprocal visit.I am surprised to see my two good friends U Lee and Rita Ho has beaten me to it and they have left their marks all over you place.
Thank you for enlightening us on Hanukah - The Festival of Lights. Its another knowledge gained about world religions.

Puteri said...

Wahh, 50 bucks! So lucky! I got "angpow" also for Christmas from my in-laws! They are holidaying in Europe right now, so got my angpow early!