Chanukah, also known as the festival of lights, is an eight day festival beginning on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev. Because it occurs close to Christmas, many non-Jews think of this holiday as the “Jewish Christmas”. However, as you must know, the holiday has nothing to do with Jesus or Santa. In fact, Chanukah commemorates an event in the second century B.C.
According to legend, a small band of Jewish people defeated the Greek-Syrian army and drove the interlopers from the Holy Land. Subsequently, they sought to light the menorah (a seven branched candelabrum) in the Second Temple in Jerusalem. But they found they had only a one-day supply of oil, until new oil could be prepared under conditions of ritual purity–an eight day process. Miraculously, the one-day oil supply burned for eight days. To commemorate these events, Temple sages instituted the festival of Chanukah.
Chanukah or Hanukkah?
In the Hebrew, Chanukah is pronounced with the letter chet. The chet’s “ch” sound is not enunciated like the “ch” in child; rather like the “ch” in Johann Bach, which does not have an English equivalent. The letter “H” is closest, but it’s not really the correct sound. So while some people spell and pronounce it “Chanukah” and others settle for “Hanukkah,” they really are one and the same.
Significance of Hanukkah
At the heart of the festival is the nightly lighting ceremony. A single candle on the menorah is lit on the first night, two on the second evening, and so on until the eighth night, when all eight candles are burning. Hanukkah is not a very important religious holiday and is celebrated with traditional foods, games and gifts. The only religious observance for the holiday is the ritual lighting of the menorah.
The holiday’s religious significance is far less than other Jewish holidays, including Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Passover, and Shavu’ot.
2018 Hanukkah in Seattle
Seattle’s Jewish population is celebrating Hanukkah from December 2 – 10, 2018. Join the fun. The following Hanukkah festivities around the Puget Sound region are FREE and open to the public.
- Sunday, December 2, 2018, 11:00 am-1:00 pm. Hands-on Hanukkah in Seattle and Bellevue. Northgate Mall (Seattle) and Crossroads Mall (Bellevue). Make your own menorah, frost delicious cookies, and build creative dreidel or menorah sun-catchers. Event is free, but please RSVP so enough supplies can be made available.
- Sunday, December 2, 2018, 12:00 pm. Menorah Lighting at Marina Park. Location: Kirkland waterfront Park – Kirkland, WA.
- Sunday, December 2, 2018, 4:00 pm. Chanukah celebration in Lynnwood hosted by Chabad of Snohomish County. City Hall, 19100 44th Ave W, Lynnwood, WA 98036. Treats, gelt, menorah kits, face painting, balloon twisting.
- Sunday, December 2, 2018, 4:00 pm. Menorah Lighting at Shoreline City Hall, 17500 Midvale Ave N – Shoreline, WA.
- Sunday, December 2, 2018, 4:30 pm. Menorah lighting in Ballard hosted by Chabad of Northwest Seattle. Bergen Place Park5420 22nd Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107.
- Sunday, December 2, 2018, 5:00 pm. Menorah Lighting in Issaquah. On Front Street.
- Sunday, December 2, 2018, 5:00pm pm. Menorah Lighting on Queen Anne Hill, corner of Crockett St and Queen Anne Ave (same as summer farmers market).
- Monday, December 3, 2018, 6:30 pm. Menorah Lighting in Issaquah. Grand Ridge Plaza.
- Monday, December 3, 2018, 6:30pm. Menorah lighting in Tacoma. Enjoy music, dancing, doughnuts, dreidels, and latkes. In front of the Broadway Center, corner of Broadway & 9th.
- Tuesday, December 4, 2018, 5:30 pm. Menorah lighting in Green Lake hosted by Chabad of Northwest Seattle. Lake Side Plaza, 7900 E Green Lake Dr N, Seattle, WA 98103.
- Tuesday, December 4, 2018, 6:30pm. Menorah lighting in Gig Harbor. Singing, dancing, latkes, doughnuts, and dreidels. Uptown Mall, 4701 Point Fosdick Drive, Gig Harbor, WA.
- Thursday, December 6, 2018, 4:30 pm. Menorah Lighting at Snoqualmie Library.
- Thursday, December 6, 2018 at 5:00 pm. Menorah Lighting and Burger Fest at Westlake Park hosted by CYP Seattle & Chabad of Downtown. Westlake Park, 401 Pine St, Seattle, WA 98101. Menorah Lighting, Gourmet Burgers, Hot Latkes, Mitzvah Tank, Music, Hot drinks, Holiday Market.
- Thursday, December 6, 2018, 6:30 pm. Menorah Lighting in University Place (south of Tacoma). Enjoy music, dreidels, doughnuts, latkes, and dancing. University Place City Center, Bridegport Way W, University Place, WA.