Hanukkah 2017 will begin in the evening of Tuesday 12 December and ends in the evening of Wednesday 20 December. Just as most children are preparing for Christmas they may enjoy learning about another festival celebrated at a similar time of year.
Hanukkah or Chanukah is the Jewish festival of light. It starts early to mid December and lasts for eight days; it is similar to Christmas and New Year in the Christian religion. Presents are given to the children in the evening for each of the eight days; the presents very often include money. All Jewish families prepare specific food and candles are lit, always in the same sequence, at the same time with the same prayers. It is the similarity of the whole Jewish community doing the same thing at the same time with the same prayers that is important, unifying everybody in the large family celebrating the Jewish religion.
A special candle stick is used, it is called a menorah, it has eight candle holders, usually all on the same level. These are one for each day of the festival and they are level to show that each day is as important as the others. There is always a ninth candle holder, this is often raised, or forward. This candle is the server, the candle used to light the others. It always has a bigger candle in which usually stands proud. The server is lit to special blessings, and then one candle is lit for each day into the festival. The candles are burned in the window for a set time each day, and then blown out.
BBC Newsround – shares a set of videos about the festival which are good for classroom use.
Activity Village – provides a set of activities for the festival.
Ducksters – has a set of facts about Hanukkah
The BBC – offers an archived page with a few worksheets on the topic.