Hanukkah, the eight-day and night Jewish Festival of Lights, begins on December 5 at sunset. Here’s a look at some of the symbols and traditions of Hanukkah, with related ideas for your classroom or home.
A menorah is a nine-branch candelabrum. One candle is lit each night during Hanukkah. The tallest candle in the center of the menorah is the shamash (servant) which is used to light the other candles. The candles are placed in the menorah from right to left and are lit from left to right.
Color a menorah online, print one to color, or get crafty and make a menorah with popsicle sticks – or your hands!
Dreidel, a popular Hanukkah toy, is a four-sided spinning top with the Hebrew letters nun, gimel, hay and shin. To play: every player begins with the same number of gelt– the Yiddish word for money (chocolate coins)
or other type of token, and puts one into a pot. Players take turns spinning the dreidel. If it lands on nun, do nothing. Landing on gimel means to take the whole pot. Hay means to take half the pot, and shin means to add one to the pot. The game is over when one person wins all of the gelt, or tokens.
Sunny Days in Second Grade offers this fun freebie that includes the Dreidel Song and rhyming activity.
“‘Twas the first night of Chanukah, and on the fifth floor,/There was holiday hustling and bustling galore./Grandma was slicing up two chocolate babkas,/Grandpa was grating potatoes for latkes.” This is a fun story to share!