Hanukkah falls quite early this year, beginning at sundown on December 1st. Hanukkah is the celebration of light, or more specifically the triumph of light over darkness. As (a terribly simplified version of) the history goes: after reclaiming Jerusalem and the holy temple from the Greeks, a single day's portion of oil miraculously burned for the Maccabees for eight days during the temple's rededication. This is why a menorah is kept burning for eight days during the modern celebration.
Although the holiday generally falls close to Christmas, and traditions have now come to include gift-giving, it is clearly a very different celebration. Unique from most Christian celebrations, many important days in the Jewish calendar acknowledge the triumphs and tribulations endured by the Jewish people throughout their history.
Well, I'm all for lighting candles, but what I enjoy even more are potato latkes and dark chocolate gelt! Like the celebrations in cultures found throughout the world, part of the Hanukkah celebration involves eating special (and delicious) foods. Especially those that are fried! This is another way to commemorate the oil that lasted eight days. Does anyone have favorite vegan Hanukkah recipes or treats they'd like to share with us? (Also, who can tell us how to play spin the dreidel??) The comments section awaits you!