For years people have compared Hanukkah to Christmas. It’s time to stop.
Christmas and Hanukkah are not equal. Now, before you start to be upset, hear me out.
Hanukkah is different from Christmas and is not Jewish Christmas as I’ve heard people say.
Hanukkah which means dedication in Hebrew is also known as the festival of lights because it is celebrated by lighting a candle on the menorah for eight days.
The short story of the history of Hanukkah is that the Jews thought there was only enough oil to last for one night in the menorah.
Then a miracle happened, the oil lasted a total of eight nights, giving the Jews enough time to find more. This is the reason that Hanukkah is celebrated for eight nights. Whereas Christmas is celebrated for one night only.
Many Christians go to special Christmas church services but Hanukkah is barely mentioned during Friday or Saturday synagogue services.
Rabbi Noah Fabricant said in an interview with NorthJersey.com that Hannukah isn’t as important as other holidays because “Hanukkah is post-Biblical.” What Fabricant meant by this is that the holiday is not included in the Old Testament; it was created after the Bible was written.
Hanukkah doesn’t always happen around Christmas time. Hanukkah always starts on day 25 of Kislev which doesn’t line up with the Gregorian calendar which means that Hannukah moves around within November and December.
Hanukkah isn’t necessarily a gift-giving holiday. It certainly didn’t start that way.
According to a Time magazine article published in 2019 called “The Real Reason American Jews Give Gifts for Hanukkah,” the Jews started giving gifts to their kids because they didn’t want them to feel left out among their friends that didn’t celebrate Hanukkah and were getting Christmas gifts.
While Hanukkah is a great holiday with amazing food and fun games, latkes and dreidel, it is not Jewish Christmas. There is no official Christmas game (maybe with the exception of football) or food. However, Hanukkah has both.
Hanukkah is not Jewish Christmas. As you can see, they are completely different holidays from two different religious backgrounds but both are important to many people around the world, including me.