8 myths about Hanukkah

Every year Jewish people from all over the world celebrate the 8 nights of Hanukkah, but do you really know what the Jewish festival is all about? This year Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, starts at sundown Dec. 12. Below are 8 myths you probably didn't know about the Jewish celebration.

  • Myth #1: Hanukkah is an Important Jewish holiday
  • It's actually one of the least important occasions on the Hebrew calendar. Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Pesach, Sukkot, and Shavuot are some of the more important holidays.

  • Myth #2: Hanukkah is the Jewish version of Christmas
  • Hanukkah actually celebrates the re-dedication of the Second Jewish temple after the defeat of the Syrian army.

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  • Myth #3: The oil burned for 8 days and 8 nights
  • It is believed that the Rabbis made up the story hundreds of years later.

  • Myth #4: Latkes are a traditional Hanukkah food
  • Not quite, latkes came from Eastern Europe, not ancient Israel.

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  • Myth #5: It is a requirement that a gift is given each of the 8 nights of Hanukkah
  • It's a nice custom to give gifts, but there's no religious mandate to do so.

  • Myth #6: There is only one way to spell Hanukkah
  • Wrong again... there isn't one true spelling. Here are a few of the most popular choices used today. Hanukkah, Chanukah, Hanukah, Chanuka, and Channukah.

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  • Myth #7: On Hanukkah Jewish families light the menorah
  • It's not actually a menorah, it's a Hanukkiah. The difference is the Hanukkiah holds more candles than a menorah.

  • Myth #8: Dreidel is a traditional Jewish game played for fun during Hanukkah
  • Sort of, but the game was used as a cover up by children during a time when learning the Torah was outlawed and forced underground.