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The Purple Tide

The student news site of Chantilly High School (Chantilly, VA)

The Purple Tide

The student news site of Chantilly High School (Chantilly, VA)

The Purple Tide

Hanukkah shines light on rich cultural history

On the first night of Hanukkah, families gather around to light the primary candle on the menorah. A Jewish festival that starts on Dec. 7 and lasts nine days and eight nights, Hanukkah is a holiday that has been celebrated for many generations, originating in 164 BCE. The festival celebrates the resurrection of the temple of Jerusalem after it was retaken by the Maccabees, which were a group of Jewish warriors.

According to the Jewish Virtual Library, tradition has given Judaism continuity with its p

ast and preserved its character. One Hanukkah tradition is the popular game of dreidel, which involves a four-sided spinning top with Hebrew lettering on each side. Another tradition is the lighting of candles every night with family, which junior Rachel Shear does every year. There are nine candles on the menorah for the nine days of Hanukkah.

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“On the first day my family has a few extra prayers to welcome the holiday and acknowledge that we’ve started to celebrate it,” Shear said. “Then for us the rest of the day is pretty standard with we say prayer, light candles and exchange gifts.” 

Like many cultural holidays, Hanukkah is filled with important dishes at gatherings such as latkes, a type of potato pancake or fritter cuisine. The oil that is used to fry the latkes represents the miracle in the temple in Jerusalem, which signifies the fuel of eternal flame because it was able to keep aflame for the eight nights.

“We do a latke competition and my mother always wins,” junior Sam Cole said. “I say it goes best with applesauce, and if anybody tells you differently, they’re lying.”

Latkes are a type of pancake with ingredients like potato, sugar and other ingredients all fried. According to PBS Food, latkes’ connection to Hanukkah were descended from Italian pancakes that were made by a rabbi from Italy.

“When I was younger, my grandma would always tell me about how she would celebrate Hanukkah, and how interesting and fun it was,’’ senior Alejandro Aliste said. “When I got older, I wanted to follow more of the Jewish culture, so I asked my mom if we could start to celebrate Hanukkah, since I wanted to experience the holiday.”

Hanukkah is a holiday that has been celebrated for around 2,000 years and continues to be celebrated globally.  According to the Associated Press, around 5% of Jewish Americans celebrate Hanukkah.

“Hanukkah to me means that I am reminiscing about past times,” Shear said. “Also, stories that have not only been passed  from my parents to me, but from their parents to them time and time again, yet they never get old.’’

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Camila Rodriguez-Marrero, Staff Writer
Camila Rodriguez is a freshman in her first year with The Purple Tide. She is interested in joining the French club. Outside of school, she dances and runs.
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