What is Hanukkah?
If you’re Jewish, you probably already know all about Hanukkah and can skip this step. However, if you’ve got Jewish friends or family members (in-laws, cousins, etc etc) that you would like to include in your holiday, you should probably learn a little of the background of Hanukkah.
Hanukkah (sometimes written Chanukah) is the Festival of Lights, which is an eight day long Jewish holiday that commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem in the second century. During this time, Jewish families light a Menorah to commemorate the time when there was only enough olive oil to fuel the eternal flame in the temple for but a single day. Miraculously, the oil managed to burn for eight days, which was the time it took to press and consecrate fresh oil.
Common Symbols Seen Around Hanukkah
Star of David - This is the symbol for Judaism.
Menorah - This is a nine branched candelabra. The four candles to either side represent one of the eight days that the eternal flame burned, while the center candle is used to light each candle, night by night.
Dreidel - A four sided wooden top often given as a gift to children during Hanukkah, and used to gamble pennies.
Much like Christmas, the wording on Hanukkah cards is fairly straightforward. Most cards simply wish the recipient “Happy Hanukkah” or “Warm Hanukkah Greetings.” Some offer poems relating to either the holiday, or the senders best wishes for a good holiday season. Be sure to choose a great font! I suggest something elegant. Once again, this is up to you. I will, however, offer up a poem that is free to use!
Joyous Hanukkah by Eva Grant
At last! At last! Hanukkah is here!
The whole house is bursting with holiday cheer.
Pancakes are sizzling as hard as they can,
Browning delectably crisp in the pan.
The dreidels can scarcely wait to be spun;
Presents are hidden for Hanukkah fun;
And there, on the table, polished and bright,
The shining menorah gleams through the night,
Like the oil lamp in ancient history,
That burned on and on miraculously!
And each flaming candle proclaims the great story
Of the Maccabean heroes, their deeds and their glory.
Image Credit: Colorful Dreidels (Wikipedia)
Holidays tend to have a color scheme fairly unique to themselves. For instance, Halloween is black and orange, Easter is represented by pastel shades, and of course, Christmas is red and green. But what about Haunukkah? Frequently Haunukkah is represneted in rich golden tones, or blue and white. However, like most things, these are just traditional, and you can feel free to play around with colors as you see fit.
Here’s an example I whipped up in Photoshop if you need a little bit of inspiration!
Star of David holds no copyright, and the sample Hanukkah card was created by Amber Neely, the author of this article, and is free to use under creative commons.