The 8 Days of Hanukkah. Hannukkah traditions
So just how can families celebrate this festival of lights, in addition to lighting their menorahs each night? Doni Zasloff Thomas, a.k.a. Mama Doni, the lead singer/songwriter of The Mama Doni Band a wacky, Jewish indie-rock band for kids who has just released their new album, Chanukah Fever offers her eight tips for eight days and nights of Hanukkah FUN!
Day 1. Latke Top Chef
Start the holiday off right with a fun latke contest! Latkes are the top food of choice on Hanukkah. They’re the potato pancakes cooked in oil to commemorate the oil from the Hanukkah story.
Gather some friends and make the traditional latkes, but then ask everyone to think of a special ingredient to throw in. You can try making carrot latkes, apple latkes, banana latkes; you can even make a latke sundae with sprinkles! Kids can be the judges of who is the "Latke Top Chef!"
Day 2: Get Your Dreidel On
It's dreidel night! The dreidel is a four-sided top, etched with Hebrew letters which stand for the phrase, "A great miracle happened here." This is a chance for kids to do a bit of gambling -- for chocolate coins! Get yourself some dreidels and some gelt (instead of gelt, you can also use chocolate kisses or lollypops, or you can go healthier and play with fruit snacks or boxes of raisins).
Everyone spins the dreidel and depending on what Hebrew letter the top lands on, you either win all of the candy (gimel), half of the candy (hey), none of the candy (nun) or have to give one back (shin). By the way, make sure you blast the "La Vida Dreidel" song when you’re playing this game, and take some dreidel dancing breaks!
Day 3: The Land of Jelly Donuts!
Did you know that Jelly donuts also known as "sufganiyot", are a traditional Hanukkah treat? Now imagine a whole world made of jelly donuts?! Jelly donut-boats, jelly streams, jelly birds, jelly donut houses! After you have eaten your delicious jelly donut, draw a picture of what you imagine a Jelly Donut Land would look like to you. Where would you live, what would your house, school, friends, look like? Hang your picture on the fridge!
Day 4: Are You Gr"8"ful?
On this day, everyone gets out a piece of paper and thinks about 8 things they are most grateful for in their life. Everyone makes their list and reads it to each other.
Day 5: Honey, this Ain't Money
Everyone knows about Hanukkah gelt, (the Yiddush term for money) right? It looks a lot like change or gold, but it is actually made of chocolate! A fun thing to do on this day is go to the store with your mom or dad or babysitter. Put the Hanukkah gelt in your pocket and then when you get the cash register, take your Hanukkah gelt and hand it to the person at the counter as if you paying with real change. Only let the joke go for a couple seconds, you are not trying to be mean, just a little silly!
Make sure your mom has real change ready to pay right away. Maybe the store owner will have a good laugh with you, and remember to wish him/her a happy holiday!
Day 6: Latke Man
There's a man out there in the universe who lives, breathes, eats, wears, cooks....who Loves latkes, and his name is Latke Man. What do you think latke man looks like? Draw a picture of this potato-loving' superhero. You can also draw his cousin, "Mister Knish". If you are really feeling' it, you can even dress up as Latke Man for dinner. Moms, don't be shy, you can dress up as Latke Mom -- she has MAJOR potato-powers. (Oh, and if you're making latkes again on this night, don't forget to see which you like more...dipping them in apple sauce or sour cream.
Day 7: It is "Chanukah" or "Hanukkah"?
Everyone says the name of this holiday differently, but both ways are cool. Something fun to do on this day is try replacing your "h" sound with the "chh" sound for a little while. You can say things like "chello?" or "chow are you?" It might make your throat tickle as well as give you the Chhhanukah giggles! Make sure to wish everyone a "Chappy Chanukah!
Day 8: eight Special People In My Life
It's the last night! This is the night where you can pick eight people in your life; could be your mom, dad, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, friends... eight people who are special to you, and either call them (or if they are near you give them a hug) and wish them a happy happy Hanukkah and tell them how much you love them.