Many children and those just not well versed in religion or history often ask. Is Hanukkah the Jewish Christmas? This will be a popular question in the coming weeks. Hanukkah is best described as the Jewish festival or celebration that is held during the time when Christians are celebrating their holiday Christmas. While the celebrations are somewhat different in meaning, the processes are quite similar.
Here are some similarities.
• Both are represented by way of using candles
• Both utilize the aspect of lighting
• Both celebrate with popular foods, and food specifically for this time of year
• Both involve prayer, song, and parties
• Both utilize the giving of gifts
There are also some differences between the two including:
• Christmas celebrates the birth of Christ
• Hanukkah celebrates the victory over the Greeks
• Christmas celebrates with the folklore of Santa Claus
• Christmas is celebrated on the 24th eve, and 25th day.
• Hanukkah varies on the start date, but lasts for eight days.
• Christmas colors are typically red and green.
• Colors for Hanukkah are blue and white.
Both festive seasons over the years have been commercialized to the max. Many stores and malls decorate and lure shoppers to cover both aspects of the celebrated season. Once company in particular that utilizes wreathes and other decorations create their products in the Christian red and greens with candy canes etc. while they also have a line that are blue and white and have Jewish symbols, Menorah, Star of David etc.
So I guess when you ask is Hanukkah the Jewish Christmas you would be right if you answered yes, or no. There are definitely similarities, yet there are also clearly differences. Either way, both festive seasons and celebrations are a time of fun, good eating and the giving of gifts. Both are a time to pray and give thanks to what we have. Each has its own unique meaning and importance based on religion and historical events. It’s funny when you look back to your younger years and think about the Jewish people you grew up with.
P.S.I particularly remember being somewhat envious that they were able to celebrate for 8 days compared to 2-3 days that we did for Christmas.