What is Hanukkah and Why is it Celebrated?

Hanukkah Celebration in Vancouver - Festival of Lights and Warmth

Understanding the Festival of Lights

As the December chill sets in, the world witnesses a myriad of festivities, each with its unique charm and traditions. Among these is Hanukkah, an eight-day Jewish festival, known for its warmth, lights, and profound historical significance. At Tooka Florist, while we specialize in crafting stunning floral arrangements for various occasions, we also cherish the diversity of celebrations around us. Let's delve into the essence of Hanukkah, a festival celebrated with much fervor across the globe.

The Historical Roots of Hanukkah

Hanukkah, also spelled Chanukah or Hanukah, translates to "dedication" in Hebrew. This festival commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem during the second century B.C. The story dates back to a tumultuous period in Jewish history, where the Jewish people, led by the Maccabees, triumphed against the Seleucid Empire. This victory was more than a military success; it was a triumph of Jewish culture and religion over Hellenistic influences.

The Miracle of the Oil

At the heart of Hanukkah is the miracle of the oil. When the Maccabees rededicated the temple, they discovered only a small amount of sacred oil, enough to keep the temple's menorah lit for a single day. Miraculously, this oil lasted for eight days, giving them ample time to prepare more oil under purity. This extraordinary event is why Hanukkah is also known as the Festival of Lights.

When is Hanukkah Celebrated?

Hanukkah's timing varies each year, as it is based on the Hebrew calendar, which is lunar. It typically falls in November or December. The festival begins on the 25th day of Kislev and lasts for eight nights and days. The Hebrew calendar's dates do not align exactly with the Gregorian calendar, so the specific dates change each year. This variability adds a unique element to the festival, making each Hanukkah a little different from the last.

What is Forbidden During Hanukkah?

Contrary to some misconceptions, Hanukkah does not typically involve strict prohibitions or fasting, as seen in some other religious observances. This festival is a time of celebration and joy. The emphasis is on remembering the miracle, spending time with family, and rejoicing in the freedom to practice one's faith. However, it is customary to refrain from mourning practices during this period. Also, some choose to avoid scheduling important work or activities during the time of candle lighting to focus on the rituals and significance of the menorah.

Hanukkah Traditions

1. Lighting the Menorah

Each night of Hanukkah, a candle is lit on the menorah, a nine-branched candelabrum. The ninth candle, called the 'Shamash' or servant candle, is used to light the others. This ritual is accompanied by prayers and songs, adding to the festival's spiritual ambiance.

2. Playing with the Dreidel

A popular Hanukkah game involves a four-sided spinning top called a dreidel. Each side is marked with Hebrew letters representing the phrase, "A great miracle happened there."

3. Savoring Traditional Foods

Foods fried in oil, like latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly-filled doughnuts), are enjoyed, symbolizing the miracle of the oil.

4. Gifting and Charity

Gift-giving and acts of charity are significant aspects of the festival, fostering a spirit of generosity and community.

Hanukkah in North Vancouver

In North Vancouver, Hanukkah brings a sense of community and joy. From homes to synagogues, menorahs light up windows, symbolizing the universal message of hope and perseverance.

At Tooka Florist, we offer a range of floral arrangements that perfectly complement the festive atmosphere. Our Fall Collection with its warm hues mirrors the coziness of Hanukkah lights, making it an excellent choice for gifting or home decor during the festival.


Hanukkah is a celebration of resilience, faith, and the triumph of light over darkness. It's a time for families to come together, share in joyous traditions, and reflect on the enduring strength of the human spirit. As you celebrate this festival, remember that at Tooka Florist, we are here to add an extra touch of beauty to your celebrations with our exquisite floral designs.

Celebrate Hanukkah with grace and elegance with Tooka Florist's exclusive collections. Explore our range of Vase Arrangements, Basket Arrangements, and Gift Boxes to find the perfect accompaniment to your festivities.

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