December 4, 2015
Christmas is often the focus this time of year, but there are other holidays that often take place in December as well. One of these holidays is Hanukkah (or Chanukkah or Hanukah or Chanuqa… there are around 16 different spellings), which is a Jewish holiday celebrating the rededication of the Holy Temple after it was destroyed. Hanukkah can begin anywhere from late November to late December, but this year it begins the evening of Sunday, December 6th and ends Monday, December 14th.
The story behind Hanukkah is very long and somewhat complicated. When the Seleucid Empire destroyed the Holy Temple and outlawed Judaism, the Maccabees (a Jewish rebel group) revolted and, after a few years, won. After the Holy Temple had been rebuilt and rededicated to Judaism, Hanukkah, which is derived from Hebrew and means “dedication”, was ordered to be celebrated. They needed oil to light the menorah (they used olive oil back then) in the Temple, but they could only find one flask of useable oil, which was only supposed to be able to light the menorah for one day. In a miraculous turn of events, the oil kept the menorah lit for 8 days. Hanukkah then became an 8-day celebration to honour the miracle oil.
These days, menorahs hold 9 candles (instead of oil) and are lit in the evenings throughout Hanukkah. There are different ways of lighting the menorah; some people light one candle a night and some light one candle per member of the household. Prayers or songs are often recited during the lighting and the menorah is usually placed in a front window. During Hanukkah, it is traditional to eat yummy oil-based foods such as doughnuts and latkes, which are a kind of potato pancake. It’s also common to find a family playing a game called dreidel during Hanukkah. Dreidel is a simple game which consists of a dreidel, which is a 4-sided spinning top, and tokens or candy (chocolate coins are the most popular). Each player gets 10 tokens or candies as well as a spin of the dreidel. Depending what side the dreidel falls on, a player may get to take some tokens or give some away. It’s pretty fun!
This year Woozworld is celebrating Hanukkah! Each day of Hanukkah around 5PM WT, a question will be placed in a chest in Central Plaza. The questions will be Hanukkah-related. If you answer each of the questions correctly, not only will you get a small surprise each day, but you will get a prize on the last day! The first chest will be placed on Sunday evening. Use this blog post as a reference for your answers.
Have fun everyone and happy holidays!