Hanukkah or Chanukah, will be a popular question asked in the coming weeks. While the word is spelled differently, it has the same meaning. Hanukkah, or Chanukah, is a Jewish celebration that is held for eight days in December. Many people confuse Hanukkah with Christmas; often it is called the Jewish Christmas which is technically wrong. Jewish people do not celebrate Christmas, and many find it offensive when people call their celebration the Jewish Christmas.
Chanukah is a festival of light, the celebration dates back in history to a time when the Jewish people fought for their freedom and beliefs against the Greek. Christmas is celebrated by Christians and is more a religious celebration, while Hanukkah or Chanukah is a historical celebration. Some suggest that the belief in the light of their lives and faith is also part meaning of Hanukkah.
For many of us with children that celebrate Hanukkah or Chanukah it can be a difficult time of year. Those with children may find it difficult to explain the difference between Christmas and Hanukkah. While there are some similarities, both holidays celebrate with prayer, feasts, and gifts. The concept is very different. Those that celebrate Christmas receive gifts on December 25th, while those that celebrate Hanukkah give and receive gifts for eight days. It is important when you are teaching young children to explain the significance of Hanukkah, and how it differs from Christmas. They will no doubt be asked by their peers why they do not celebrate Christmas. Some children may be ignorant to the fact; this is a great time for your children to educate their friends.
No matter which holiday you celebrate, both are a time for recollection. Hanukkah is a time for reflection and spending time with loved ones to remember. It is an excellent time to donate time or money to the less fortunate. The Jewish people cal this tzedakah which is the word for charity. Often people will donate money to the less fortunate.
Hanukkah or Chanukah is a beautiful time and an excellent way to teach your children some life skills. They will no doubt be faced with some harsh treatment from others; if you provide them with the necessary tools they will be more prepared and will better understand the difference between Hanukkah and Christmas.
More posts like this one in About Hanukkah.