This last week has been Hanukkah (or Chanukah, spellings vary since it's not an English word to begin with!) Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday, dating from about 160BC, and commemorating a miracle where one flask of oil kept the temple menorah lit for eight days, inspiring the Jews sufficiently to be able to defeat the invading Greeks and send them packing. Since Hanukkah is scheduled in the Jewish calendar, it is on a different date on our calendar each year--ranging anywhere during the month of December.
Two years ago I shared Hanukkah can be for Christians too, and it bears re-reading if you don't remember it. It has several ideas for ways to celebrate the holiday, including singing or listening to songs, lighting a menorah, telling the story of Hanukkah, playing dreidel, or eating traditional Hanukkah foods. In the past our family has just eaten latkes and retold the story on one of the nights, but in the future I would like to get a menorah and light the candles each night as well. Considering my family, I suspect that reenactments of the story are likely as well. ☺
Here are a few songs:
Candlelight by The Maccabeats (a cappella)
Eight Days of Hanukkah
Light the Candles (a childrens chorus, an original song written by their teacher, quite pretty)
Miracle by Matisyahu (serious lyrics by a serious Jew, with a hiphop beat)
A men's dance and a women's dance if you'd like to see something traditional, and a song (it only has pictures, not video) Everybody Dance (to the Hanukkah Song) that kids will love dancing to
Lich'vod Hachanukkah (a traditional song in Hebrew--the full lyrics, and translation, are at the link)
and even (if you're a little less reverent) Adam Sandler's Hanukkah Song
Here are some traditional Hanukkah foods (since the miracle was about oil, traditional holiday foods are cooked in oil or deep fried):
Latkes ("potato pancakes")
Suvgani'ot (jelly-filled doughnuts) (this isn't really an authentic recipe, but it is jelly-filled doughnuts!)
Here's a bit of a chuckle for you: this year (2010) there have been wildfires burning in Israel. And the Greeks are among the neighbors who have sent planes to help put out the fires. As a friend of a friend pointed out "The irony of Greek planes flying over Israel helping to put out fires on Chanuka has not been lost on Israelis. [But] we are all very, very grateful for the help of some of our neighbors and all of our friends. Truly a blessed and welcome surprise."