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
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.
At the heart of the festival is the nightly menorah 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.
2019 Hanukkah in Seattle
Seattle’s Jewish population is celebrating Hanukkah from December 22-30, 2019. Join the fun. The following Hanukkah festivities around the Puget Sound region are FREE and open to the public.
- December 15, 2019, 11:00 am-1:00 pm. Hands-on Hanukkah in Seattle at Northgate Mall and in Bellevue at Crossroads Mall. 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.
- December 22, 2019 at 4 PM – 4:45 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.
- December 22, 2019 at 4 PM – 7 PM. Menorah Lighting at Shoreline City Hall, 17500 Midvale Ave N – Shoreline, WA.
- December 22, 2019 at 4:15 PM – 6:45 PM. Menorah Lighting at Marina Park. Location: Kirkland waterfront Park – Kirkland, WA.
- December 22, 2019 at 5 PM. Menorah Lighting in Issaquah. Grand Ridge Plaza.
- December 22, 2019 – 5:00 PM. Menorah lighting in Green Lake hosted by Chabad of Northwest Seattle. Lake Side Plaza, 7900 E Green Lake Dr N, Seattle, WA 98103.
- December 22, 2019 – 5:00 PM. Menorah on the Green on Bainbridge Island.
- December 22, 2019 – 5:00 PM. Chanukah at Redmond Town Center Menorah Lighting. Come hear a special holiday message from Rabbi Farkash. Enjoy chocolate gelt and get in the holiday spirit. Everyone is welcome.
- December 22, 2019 at 5 PM – 6 PM. Menorah lighting in Ballard hosted by Chabad of Northwest Seattle. Bergen Place Park5420 22nd Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107.
- Sunday, December 22, 2019, 5:00-6:00pm. Menorah Lighting on Queen Anne Hill, corner of Crockett St and Queen Anne Ave (same as summer farmers market).
- December 22, 2019 at 5 PM – 8 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, Burgers & Latkes, Music, Hot drinks, Donuts, Mitzvah Tank, Holiday Market.
- December 23, 2019 – 5:00 PM. Downtown Bellevue Park Menorah Lighting. Join Rabbi Levi Farkash. Come celebrate the light and warmth of the Chanukah Menorah. Dreidles and chocolate gelt for all.
- December 29, 2019. The Chanukah Party is an annual multi-media community celebration featuring live standup comedy, musical performances, a dance party, and much delicious food. This party is completely secular; all are welcome. It’s really just an excuse to throw a great party with food, great entertainment and comedy. Nosh on a spread of delicious food, including Matzo ball soup, potato latkes and world famous Bagel Bar. Shop hand-crafted goods. Laugh at short sets of comedy standup, then enjoy a trio of musical performances. Cap off the night with a dance party led by a DJ Tag Team providing mind-bending, love-inducing visuals all night long. Love is required for entry; leave hate, bigotry, and othering at home. This event is by and for people of different cultures, colors, and faiths. Nobody leaves till all the bread gets broken, dig? Tickets: $20 at the door. Discount: $15 advance online. Tickets: https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/4435008