We are in the thick of the holiday season. The air is crisp, those infamous songs are playing on repeat, and family traditions are in full swing. Although I do love blasting N*Sync’s Christmas hit on my commute home, my family and I celebrate Hanukkah, and I’m here to tell you a bit about my favorite Hanukkah traditions.

Joy and Celebration:

The Hanukkah story chronicles a great miracle that happened. The Jewish peoples’ existence was threatened, and a small group of brave heroes called the Maccabees joined together to save them. The climax of the story occurs where the Maccabees need to light up a space and only have enough oil to last about one day, but it lasted eight. This is the great miracle we refer to when we say, “A great miracle happened there”. Because of this miracle, we are encouraged to celebrate our survival. We are expected to be joyful and grateful for the outcome of the Hanukkah story. I appreciate this tradition of celebrating because it carves out an intentional eight days where I can be reminded of not only the sacrifices people before me had to endure, but how lucky I am to have the family, friends, and health that I do.


While staying in theme with the Hanukkah miracle story, it is tradition to pay homage to the oil that saved the people by eating all of the oily foods. Can you see why this might be one of my favorites? ;-) We make and eat fried potato pancakes or latkes and fried jelly donuts or sufganiyot. Some people get creative with the kinds of oily foods they eat and prepare, but latkes are my absolute favorite. It is customary to pair the latkes with either applesauce or sour cream (some do both). If you haven’t tried latkes like that yet, I highly recommend it. The food brings such added comfort during an already celebratory time. Another food tradition is chocolate gelt, which are those foil-covered chocolate coins that you might see in the store. They are another delicious way to bring in the holiday and also act as a nice treat if PMS reaches you during Hanukkah.

Thank you for tuning in to hear a bit about my favorite holiday traditions. Whatever holiday you might celebrate (if any), I wish you a joyful, celebratory, and comfort food filled one.

About the author

Becca is a registered Marriage and Family Therapist Associate who gives us her expert perspective on Emotional Health and Wellness. She holds an M.A in Education with an emphasis in Counseling as well as an M.S. in Counseling with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy from San Diego State University.  Each month she writes about mental health and how to feel your best!
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