Hanukkah is upon us. It's time for eight days and nights of celebration. Being a Catholic, I never knew all that much about the Jewish holiday. However, as I grew older, I was intrigued and wanted to learn more.

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An article from Town & Country depicts the history of the holiday and why certain traditions are followed. Below you'll find eight interesting facts about Hanukkah you probably didn't know.

LOOK: DO YOU KNOW THESE 8 INTERESTING HANUKKAH FACTS?

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The Word Hanukkah Means "Dedication"

As history.com describes, "The Jewish celebration known as Hanukkah commemorates the rededication during second-century B.C. of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, where according to legend Jews had risen against their Greek-Syrian oppressors in the Maccabean Revolt."


 

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Hanukkah Lasts for Eight Nights

Eight was the number of nights that the holy light - with only enough oil for one night - reputedly burned. Thus an eight-day festival was declared.


 

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Gifts Were Not Always a Part of Hanukkah

In the past, it was common to give money during Hanukkah. But as Christmas grew in popularity, more gift-giving was done instead.


 

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Each Night During Hanukkah a Menorah Is Lit

A menorah is a candelabra with nine candles in total, four on each side with one in the center used to light the other candles. This candle is known as the shamash and usually sits higher than the rest.


 

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The First President To Celebrate Hanukkah At The White House Was Harry Truman

In 1951, a menorah was given to President Harry Truman as a gift by the Prime Minister of Israel.


 

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Hanukkah Is Not The Most Significant Jewish Holiday

Other Jewish holidays like Rosh Hashanah and Passover are considered to be more significant.


 

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There's More Than One Way To Spell Hanukkah

Whether you spell it Hanukkah, Hannuka, or Chanukkah, they're actually all correct. There is no precise way to translate the Hebrew sounds into English, so all spellings are used.


 

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The Popular Hanukkah Treat Known as Gelt

Gelt is a coin-shaped chocolate wrapped in gold or silver foil, used as "money" to gift to children and/or won during a game of dreidel.


 

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Traditional Hanukkah Foods Are Typically Fried

This is to commemorate the legendary oil that burned for eight nights straight. Sufganiyot, or jelly donuts, are one of the more popular holiday foods, with over 17 million donuts consumed in Israel throughout Hanukkah.

Growing up I had a couple of Jewish buddies. They'd always rib me about getting only one day of presents, instead of eight. At the time I didn't give it much thought. I was focused on one thing only...Santa Claus and Christmas. Now I see the Hanukkah picture more clearly. Hopefully, you do too.

There will be a lighting of a six-foot Menorah on Monday, December 11, 2023, at the Mall of Abilene. For more information contact moshefaygen@gmail.com.

See Austin's Trail Of Lights Picked Best Christmas Light Display In Texas!

Gallery Credit: Leo

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