Sunday, March 7, 2021

Jewish Celebrations: A Beginner's Guide


There are ten major Jewish holidays that are celebrated each year. However, these aren't the only celebrations that happen!

From Hanukkah, bar mitzvah's, and Yom Kippur, there are many ways throughout the year you can enjoy these Jewish traditions.

Keep reading to learn more about some of the most common Jewish celebrations!

Bar or Bat Mitzvah

Bar and bat mitzvah directly means 'son and daughter of the commandment.' This is a ceremonial recognition that a young boy or girl has reached the age where they are no longer considered a child according to Jewish law and are able to take on new religious responsibilities as an adult would.

Boys are bar mitzvahed when they turn thirteen, and girls are bat mitzvahed when they turn twelve. There is usually a large party where the whole family gets together to celebrate.

Are you wondering what gift to give at a bar or bat mitzvah? The most common gift is money, but something that's symbolic or follows Jewish traditions will also work well.


This holiday is probably the one that most non-Jewish people are familiar with. Hanukkah, or Chanukah, is an eight-day celebration that commemorates the small army of Jews who were led to victory against the Syrian-Greek oppressors by Judah Maccabi. The Jews were severely outnumbered, but they emerged victoriously and reclaimed Isreal.

Once they one the war the Maccabees wanted to rededicate the Temple and light the Menorah but they only have enough oil to burn for one day. Through a miracle, the oil burned for eight days, which is when Hanukkah was instituted as a national Jewish holiday. 

It's celebrated today by lighting one candle per night for eight days, from right to left. Many people also play dreidel games and eat foods like sufganiyot or latkes. Both of these foods are fried in oil to commemorate the miracle of the long-burning oil.

Pesach (Passover)

This is a very significant holiday as Pesach is a celebration of freedom. It's celebrated because it commemorates when the Jews were taken out of slavery in Egypt and brought to Israel. There were many miracles that occurred during this time, and the exodus from Egypt is a cornerstone of the Jewish faith.

This celebration lasts for eight days, with the first two days featuring long feasts held at night. One of the most important food at the table during the first two feast days is matzah, which is a crunchy cracker-like bread. This is customary because when the Israelites were forced to leave they didn't have time to let their bread rise, instead, letting it cook in their sacks creating the special treat that's enjoyed today.



Enjoy Jewish Celebrations This Year!

Now that you know some of the more common Jewish celebrations, make a plan to celebrate them this year!

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