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Theydeserveit >> Holiday Gifts >> Jewish Holiday Gifts >> Chanukah Meals and Gifts

Hanukkah Meal Ideas

Hanukkah Meals

The festival of Hanukkah is an occasion of joy and triumph for the Jews. It is one of their most important festivals, and is celebrated to rejoice the victory of the Maccabees over a tyrant Syrian king Antiochus. The Jews rebelled against Antiochus and his army, as they were being compelled to worship Greek idols and eat the flesh of pigs. Such practices were against their customs and traditions. They were also forbidden to follow the Jewish rituals. So, under the leadership of Mattathias, a High Priest, they attacked the Syrian soldiers and killed as many as they could.

Numerous other Jews joined Mattathias for his fight against Antiochus. After almost three years of continuous fighting the Maccabees were victorious. They then entered the holy temple which had been severely damaged. In order to clean and prepare the temple for rededication, they lit the temple light, and it remained lit miraculously for eight days, though there was hardly enough oil to burn for even a single day. In remembrance of this oil, most Hanukkah meals are cooked in oil. The Hanukkah meals prepared during this festival is mostly symbolic to the events that had occurred in the past.

Pancakes, a traditional dish, are served as a reminder of the food the Maccabees ate before going to the battlefield. One of the favorite Israeli foods, sufganiya, a kind of jelly doughnut and loukoumades, which are deep fried puffs represent the meals that the Maccabees used to have.

A legendary heroine Judith had saved her village from Syrian attackers by feeding their general with piles of cheese and wine, and then beheading him while he was asleep in a drunken state. To remember her victory, latkes are prepared, which is symbolic to cheesecakes which Judith had served to the general. In the United States, latkes are also made as potato pancakes. A recent addition to the Hanukkah meals in the United States is the baking of butter cookies in the shape of Hanukkah symbols, which is a treat for children.
Some other great and mouth watering Hanukkah meals are;

Crockpot Beef Brisket: This is a traditional and old fashion recipe and very popular in Israel.
Sufaganiot: This is a kind of jelly doughnut, deep fried in oil in remembrance of the oil that was used to kindle the temple light.
Traditional Latkes: This is also a deep fried recipe, and includes potatoes, applesauce and two kinds of onions.
Several salads are also served with food. The festive tossed salad and the noodle kugel salad are quite popular.

No meal is complete without deserts and Hanukkah meals are no exception. Some very popular desserts are;

Apple Dessert Latkes: They serve as a good addition to Hanukkah lunch and are appropriate as a warm winter dessert.
Hanukkah cutout cookies: These cookies are usually baked in the traditional dreidel or Hanukkiah style, sometimes with blue and white icing on top. This is a wonderful treat for children.
Cheese Potato Dessert Latkes: This is a form of latke, which also serves as a dessert.
Chocolate Almond Cheesecake: Nobody can resist this mouth watering recipe, and is a perfect dish for cheese lovers.

Drinks are also offered to guests or even in family gatherings. Guests can also be offered sparkling wine, dessert wine, signature cocktail, apple cider or grape juice. Some even prefer to have orange juice with a dash of lime in it.

Hanukkah is an occasion that salutes the strength & the will of Jews who fought for their freedom & won. The traditional Hanukkah Meals in a way pay tribute to the struggle & the efforts of the Jews.