History Behind Hanukkah Traditions

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Hanukkah begins tonight, and although it’s not a holiday we celebrate, Travis’s latest Raddish kit contained a yummy traditional recipe (latkes) as well as an interesting lesson plan about the holiday. So we were intrigued to delve into it!

As background, we read a quick poem about Hanukkah and enjoyed the suggested video on the history of the holiday.

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There were several suggested ways to craft a menorah, thereafter. We tried a very simple version made simply with painted clothespins clipped to craft paper or folded paper plates…

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…but then also copied the method we used earlier this month for advent candles. This time, I cut toilet paper tubes in half for shorter candles and we wrapped them in blue cardstock with blue ribbon.

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Wrap a taller candle in white cardstock for the center shammash. Add a felt-wrapped tea light to each candle. I brought this menorah to the table for Travis and I to discuss. We counted the candles, and talked about how each one represented one night of the miracle.

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Time to light it, making sure to work our way right to left!

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To add to our discussion, we waited until dark and then turned out all the lights except the candles. Travis helped brainstorm a list of other light sources, including flashlights, light bulbs, and the sun.

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We discussed the differences among them, and he completed the sentence: “Light is important in my life because…” citing the ways it helps him see and focus and feel unafraid.

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I was glad this lesson offered the chance to learn about another culture and customs. For bonus fun, don’t forget to play a game of dreidel with chocolate gelt for a reward.


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