A new friend invited you over to celebrate the first night
of Hanukkah with her family. You’re psyched…until you realize you have
absolutely no idea what you should wear, how you should act or what the whole
evening is really about. Not to worry, babe! We’re here to help you understand--and enjoy--this seasonal celebration.
What to wear
Dress the way you would for a family dinner, but leave the
Christmas sweaters at home. A cardi and button-down paired with khakis or a
cute skirt is totally appropriate. Keep the makeup light and natural rather
than glitzy, and you’re good to go.
What to bring
It’s always great to bring a hostess gift when you attend a
nice dinner or a party. If you’re not quite sure what the family would
appreciate (or what their customs are), try a pretty bouquet, a box of goodies
from a nearby Jewish bakery or a pile of chocolate gelt.
How to act
Be respectful, and you won’t make a misstep. You won’t be
leading any of the traditions, so you can follow your friend’s actions without
fear. If something makes you uncomfortable, politely excuse yourself, but don’t
worry about not knowing what to do next.
What you’re hearing
Before you partake of the Hanukkah feast, you’ll hear a
bunch of words you won’t understand. These are traditional Hebrew blessings
said over the candle being lit in the menorah once it is nightfall. Listen
carefully—the words sound rather melodic when spoken well. There are three
blessings. Here they are, translated into English:
1: Blessed are You, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who
has sanctified us with Your commandments, and has commanded us to kindle the
lights of Hanukkah.
2: Blessed are you, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who
wrought miracles for our fathers in days of old, at this season.
3: Blessed are You, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who
has kept us alive, and has preserved us, and enabled us to reach this time.
What you’re eating
It’s traditional during Hanukkah to eat fried foods. Why? Well,
it all goes back to the story. The Hebrew word “Hanukkah” means “dedication.”
The eight days and nights over which the holiday is celebrated commemorates the
rededication of the holy temple in Jerusalem following battle. When the Jews
won the battle, they returned to their temple, determined to purify it by
burning ritual oil for eight days, but they only had enough oil for a single
night. Miraculously, the menorah stayed lit for eight days instead of one, and
so we celebrate by lighting candles for eight consecutive days, and eating
fried food, which signifies the oil.
You’ll likely be served latkes, or fried potato pancakes.
They’re delectable with sour cream and applesauce—try them with both!
Jelly-filled doughnuts are also popular munchies.
What you’re doing
Another tradition? Spinning the dreidel, of course! The
dreidel is a top with four Hebrew letters written on it, one on each side. CLICK
HERE to learn how to play the game.
BY BRITTANY TAYLOR ON 12/7/2012 12:00:00 AM
POSTED IN hanukkah, happy holidays, happy hanukkah, holiday parties, religion