Hanukkah is one of the popular festivals of Jews. The eight-day festival starts on the 25th day of Kislev, the third month of the Jewish calendar and can fall anywhere in the month of November or December, as per the Gregorian calendar. This annual festival of Jewish people is also called festival of lights. When celebrating Hanukkah, Jews ensure that apart from all the fun during the holiday, the traditions are also strictly followed. They take special efforts to keep the menorah lit continuously throughout the festival and chant all the Jewish blessings before lighting each candle.
Food also plays an important role in Chanukah celebrations. All the dishes prepared on the day have to be either fried or baked, that too preferably in olive oil. It reminds them of the miracle of the oil that burned for eight days, when the Maccabees purified and rededicated the holy temple in Jerusalem. Even dairy items, especially, is often eaten on Hanukkah, to remind them of the story of the Jewish heroine, Yehudit (Judith). The origin of traditional Hanukah foods is actually quite complex. It is regarded as a combination of ancient customs and cultural influence. To know more about Chanukah food, read on.
Traditional Foods For Chanukah
Hanukkah is almost synonymous with the traditional Potato pancakes (latkes in Yiddish and Livivot in Hebrew). These latkes serve as a reminder of the food hurriedly prepared for the Maccabees, as they went into battle. They are fried in oil, as a reminder of the miraculous oil that burned in the holy temple. Latkes are also symbolic of the cheesecakes served by the widow Judith. These cheesecakes later evolved to the potato/vegetable latkes known today. They are made by frying small pancakes of grated potatoes, held together by eggs and cheese or milk. They are usually eaten with apple sauce or sour cream.
Doughnuts (Sufganiyot in Hebrew)
Sufganiyot are the jelly doughnuts that are fried in oil and can be bought from almost any street corner. They are especially popular in Israel. They are filled with jam and covered with powdered sugar. They are fried until brown and good only when fresh.
Hanukkah Bimuelos or Loukoumades (Fried Honey Puffs)
Fried honey puffs make traditional Hanukkah food for Sephardic Jews from the Mediterranean region, particularly Spain, Greece, and Turkey. They are prepared by making loose and sticky batter mixed with honey syrup. Honey puffs are best eaten as soon as they are made. They are so yummy and delicious that you will want to make them year-round.
Cheese Gelt Coins
The tasty cheddar cheese crackers are great not only as edible gelt for Hanukkah, but also a great appetizer cracker for any other occasion, like a party, or just as a midday snack. You can freeze logs of dough, after wrapping them up. Let them thaw slightly in the refrigerator, before cutting to bake. However, be sure that the dough remains cold enough to slice.