In Hebrew, Hanukkah actually stands for ‘dedication’. This holiday is celebrated as a tribute to Jerusalem’s holy temple rededication in 165 B.C. after several Jewish fighters called the Maccabees won over the Syrians from Hellena. This happened to be an important event because the Greek Syrian King, Antiochus, actually outlawed every existing Jewish ritual back then and even made Jews worship his Greek Gods. During the temple’s rededication, there was just enough oil that could light the lamps inside for a single evening, but a miracle happened and the lights stayed on for more than a week until they could find more oil. This is why Hanukkah is seen as a miraculous lights festival and is celebrated for the same length of time as the lights of the temples stayed on. In fact, oil happens to be a theme that reoccurs in Hanukkah because of the lamps’ oil and is therefore included in various Hanukkah party ideas.
Some traditional Hanukkah party ideas include frying foods with vegetable oil, such as Sufganiyots and Latkes. Basically, Sufganiyots are jelly doughnuts without holes that are covered with cinnamon or powdered sugar and fried with vegetable oil. Latkes, on the other hand, refer to potato pancakes that are made out of grated potatoes, eggs, flour and onions and fried with vegetable oil. They are served hot, either with sour cream or applesauce.
Hanukkah games include Dreidel games, which bring the traditional fun out for the holidays. A dreidel refers to a spinning top with four sides that has various Hebrew letters inscribed on it. Several great Hanukkah ideas would be to decorate the entire party room with such dreidels or with David stars, menorahs and other decorations reminiscent of Hanukkah to make the celebration all the more special for every friend and family member present.
Party supplies like Hanukkah paper plates, napkins and tablecloths would be other great Hanukkah party ideas to serve traditional foods in for the celebration. One good tradition to begin with the family is sharing in Hanukkah story-telling. Keep in mind that Hanukkah happens to be filled with traditions and history, so passing down the tradition from one generation to the next would be a great way to enjoy and preserve this particular celebration. Happy Hanukkah!