Though some people think of Hanukkah as “the Jewish Christmas,” this holiday is much more than that. Hanukkah is celebrated differently across the world, but all Hanukkah celebrations involve friends, family, and light. The eight days of festive celebration commemorate the tale of the Maccabees, a small group of faithful Jews who defeated the much larger army of the Seleucids (Syrian-Greeks) in 165 B.C.E.
As a result of this victory, the Jews reclaimed the temple of Jerusalem. The story claims that the Maccabees did not have enough purified oil to light the temple’s grand lanterns for celebration. Miraculously, the small flask they had left over lasted eight full days and nights — just long enough to prepare a fresh supply of pure oil.
Thus, the eight days of Hanukkah were born. Since then, the holiday has been affiliated with happy traditions such as gift giving, lighting the menorah, and deep-frying potatoes. Latkes, anyone?
But when are the latkes (and other delicious, deep-fried Hanukkah foods) being served this year? Well, you can fry potatoes anytime — but Hanukkah 2018 begins on Sunday, December 2 at sundown and lasts until the evening of Monday, December 10.
So get your gifts ready for your family members and friends. And don’t forget to buy a little something special for the people in your life you should be buying gifts for, but aren’t.