8 Unique Hanukkah Menorahs to Celebrate the Festival of Lights

Time to get lit…

By Google Arts & Culture

Menorah #2 (1986) by Peter ShireMinneapolis Institute of Art

Hanukkah is the eight-day-long Jewish festival of lights that commemorates the story of the Maccabees reclaiming their Holy Temple after a three year war with the Greeks. To celebrate their victory they lit an oil lamp and even though they only had enough oil for one day, the lamp miraculously burned for eight days and nights. 

Now when the celebration comes round every year it’s tradition to light the candles on a Hanukkah menorah, or Hanukkiah, on each night of the festival. 

Menorah:Bicycle Menorah (2009) by Aviv Judaica Imports, Ltd.The Strong National Museum of Play

Hanukkah is one of the more well known Jewish holidays, but it isn’t mentioned in the Torah and is termed a ‘minor’ holiday because unlike Rosh Hashana or Passover, it doesn’t require major restrictions on people’s behavior and eating habits.

Bird Menorah (2012) by Susan GarsonCraft in America

However there are culinary traditions that go hand in hand with the celebration. Oily food is eaten as a symbol of the miracle oil that burned for 8 days and in Israel 17.5 million greasy donuts known as ‘sufganiyot’ are eaten during Hanukkah. 

Menorah:Fire Truck Menorah by Jessica Sporn (2009) by Aviv Judaica Imports, Ltd.The Strong National Museum of Play

The most common way to spell the name of the holiday is Chanukah or Hanukkah but there are actually 16 different ways it can been transliterated into English because of the guttural “hecht” sound of the first Hebrew letter of the word.

Menorah:Soccer Menorah by Jessica Sporn (2009) by Aviv Judaica Imports, Ltd.The Strong National Museum of Play

A Hannukkiah holds nine candles, one for each night of the festival and one that’s raised above the rest. The ninth, higher candle, known as the shamash, is lit first then used to light the others. Each candle traditionally burns for at least half an hour.

Menorah:Ballet Menorah by Jessica Sporn (2009) by Aviv Judaica Imports, Ltd.The Strong National Museum of Play

There are at least 44 candles in each box of Hanukkah candles as on the first night only one candle (plus the shamash) is lit, on the second night two are lit, and so on until the Hanukkiah is fully lit on the final night. 

Menorah:Noah's Ark Menorah by Jessica Sporn (2009) by Aviv Judaica Imports, Ltd.The Strong National Museum of Play

When the Hanukiah is assembled the candles should be added from right to left to correspond with the direction the Hebrew language is read, but then lit left to right so the candles added last are lit first.  

Hanukkah Lamp (1867-72) by BDThe Jewish Museum, New York

Hanukkah was first celebrated in The White House in 1951 when Israel gave President Henry Truman a menorah as a gift. The first official party held there was in 2001 when George W. Bush borrowed this 100-year-old Hanukkiah from the Jewish Museum in New York for the event.

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