Healthy Hanukkah


Hanukkah, or Chanukah, is the eight-day Jewish Festival of Lights that usually falls in November or December. This blog will offer insight into the history of the holiday, traditional activities, and COVID-friendly suggestions to make sure it is a Healthy Hanukkah this year!

The holiday traditions include the lighting of a menorah that stems from the history of the celebration. According to,¬†Hanukkah “commemorates the rededication during the second century B.C. of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, where according to legend Jews had risen up against their Greek-Syrian oppressors in the Maccabean Revolt.” During the rededication, a menorah was lighted and despite there being only enough oil to light the candles for one day, the flames stayed lit for eight nights. This miracle is commemorated by this annual eight-day festival.

The lighting of the menorah is clearly the most important Hanukkah tradition. But, there are several others! To further commemorate the miracle oil from the history books, fried foods are often part of the Hanukkah celebration, especially latkes (fried potato pancakes) and fried jelly donuts, called sufganiyot. There are several healthy versions of these traditional recipes that allow you to celebrate the miracle while still eating well. Cooking Light has a list of fantastic, healthier alternatives to your Hanukkah celebration including roasted root vegetable and cheesy cauliflower options for latkes and sweet or cheese and chive challah recipes!

Playing dreidel is another traditional Hanukkah pastime! For a safe, COVID-friendly alternative, a Virtual Dreidel option has been created! All the fun of playing without the risk!

What else can you do to celebrate a happy and healthy Hanukkah? Here are some ideas!

  • ¬†Find live stream celebrations to attend, rather than attending in person
  • Virtually celebrate with family rather than having a large gathering
  • Make the usual treats and drop them off at the houses of family and friends even if you can’t gather together
  • Find an outdoor menorah and celebrate outside with family to allow for social distancing
  • Relax! Allow the safety precautions to give you a reason to fully enjoy the holiday by relaxing and enjoying the moments with your family instead of stressing over a big gathering
  • If gifts are involved with your Hanukkah celebration, consider getting COVID-friendly gifts like board games, books, or puzzles

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