Hanukkah, like any other festival, has several traditions associated with it. The lighting of the special nine-branched candelabrum, Menorah, forms the main tradition of the festival. One light is lit per night proceeding to the lighting of eight lights on the final night. Among other traditions of Hanukkah, the gift giving tradition is growing popular with the passing time. It is actually a new concept that has evolved out of the gelt giving tradition of the Jews. In the past, the children were tested about their knowledge on Hanukkah. They were asked questions related to history of Hanukkah and also other things associated with the festival. If they could answer these questions correctly, they were rewarded with gelt, which comprised of a token of money that brought cheers among the children.
As per the Talmud, Hanukkah gelt reminds people to light at least one candle per night during the festival. The widespread gelt tradition made it possible for the poor to get enough money to burn their candles during Hanukkah. There are symbolic associations with the gelt-giving tradition followed on Hanukkah. The coin given as gelt stands for freedom of the Jews from the Syrian rule. After the historic victory of Jews, they were able to get the right to print their own coins and money. The gelt reminds people of this freedom. The money also serves as the reminder to the people to share with people in need and indulge in acts of charity.
The only tradition of gift giving associated with the festival is the exchange of gelt. Since Hanukkah falls on the same time as Christmas, the Jews expanded the gelt-giving tradition to gift giving tradition. With time, the gift giving tradition on Hanukkah became very popular. Gifts serve both for the traditional aspect and the fun part. The gift-giving tradition is no longer restricted to children. Adults too participate in it whole-heartedly. This tradition brings people close to each other and enables them to spend precious moments with each other.
Today, there are several gift options available for Hanukkah. One can either go with the traditional things or buy some attractive modern items. Special Hanukkah Menorah and dreidel of various shapes and sizes form ideal traditional gift, which can be presented to any friend or relative. One can also think of other Jewish gifts like Judaic products, Jewish books and music & kosher products as well. Special Hanukkah gift baskets are also available in the markets during this time. These baskets are stuffed with baked goods, blue and white cookies, kosher nuts, dried fruits, candles and the likes.