You’re on your way to enjoying a fantastic Hanukkah Party.
Hanukkah Party: The Festival of Lights
Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish celebration. When it comes to throwing a Hanukkah party,
you can throw a large party with your extended family and friends one night and celebrate with
your close family the rest of the nights. You could also enjoy the celebration only with your
immediate family, or you could host a party all eight evenings! It’s up to you which and how
many nights you want to celebrate. So grab your menorah, dreidel, and gifts and let’s talk
Hanukkah party ideas!
Light the Menorah
First up is the decor for
your party. It is traditional to decorate with the colors of blue, white, and silver; these are the
traditional colors of Israel. Use these colors with the linens, streamers, balloons, or other decor items. Decorate
the walls, tables, driveway, etc. You can also hang images of the Star of David, the religious
symbol of the Jewish faith.
There are many other traditional items besides decor that are essential for any Hanukkah
party. These include chocolate gelt, dreidels, and the menorah. Gelt is Yiddish for “money."
The dreidel is a 4-sided top used for an ancient gambling game. On each of the dreidel’s
sides is a Hebrew symbol: Nun, which means get nothing from the kitty; Gimel, get everything
form the kitty; He, get half the kitty; and Shin, put half the money in the kitty. Whatever side
the dreidel lands on is what you have to win or lose; you can play with money, gelt, or other
candies. This traditional game is played at every Hanukkah celebration. The menorah, as most
know, is the candelabra that holds the nine Hanukkah candles. The menorah has eight candles
plus the shamas candle, which is the candle used to light the other eight on their respective
Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel
There are a few traditional blessings and songs that you need to perform over the eight
Hanukkah nights. The three blessings are the l’hadlik neir, she-asah nisim, and she-hekhianu.
They are all general prayers; one over the candles, the next thanking God for the Hanukkah
miracle, and the last thanking God for another year. There are also a few traditional songs, one
of which is "Maoz Tzur" (Rock of Ages).
If you are having a more large scale party or want to have professional entertainment, you can hire a band
or individual musician. Some of these options include Klezmer bands, accordion players, clarinetists, or other
musicians. Hiring a professional musician or band alleviates you from the worry of not
having appropriate music for the event.
Food and Gift Giving
Hanukkah has many traditional food dishes that you can prepare at home or have a Kosher caterer prepare for
you. Most traditional dishes are fried, because the Hanukkah story involves one day’s worth of
oil lasting for eight days. The main dish for Hanukkah is the latkes, which essentially a potato
pancake fried in oil, and it’s generally served with applesauce. If you don’t want to go the potato
route, it is possible to make them with fruit or vegetables. Another traditional item is sufganiyot;
for those of you who don’t speak Hebrew, sufganiyot is a type of jelly doughnut.
It is tradition to give a gift on each of the eight nights. You can give a gift to those in your
immediate family, have an exchange, or choose names to give gifts to. It is up to you how
you choose to go about the gift giving. Generally, these gifts are rather inexpensive, so don’t
go too extravagant. Also, since many games are played at Hanukkah in addition to Spin the
Dreidel, be sure to have party gifts for the game winners. If you are inviting others over for your
Hanukkah party, it is polite to have party favors for the guests as well.
Hopefully, these tips will help you host a fantastic Hanukkah celebration. If you need any
help finding entertainment or services for the party, go to Gig Salad to find whatever it is that
you need for the event.