Countries That Celebrate Hanukkah – Festival of Lights Worldwide

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Hanukkah is celebrated in numerous countries around the world, showcasing the global reach and significance of the Festival of Lights. From Israel to Australia, France to Colombia, and beyond, each country has its own unique traditions and customs associated with Hanukkah. Let’s explore the diverse ways in which Hanukkah is celebrated in different nations.

Key Takeaways

Hanukkah is celebrated in various countries worldwide, highlighting its global appeal.
Each country has its own distinct Hanukkah traditions and customs.
Israel, Australia, France, Colombia, India, the United States, Hungary, and England are just a few examples of countries where Hanukkah is celebrated.
Hanukkah celebrations often involve lighting menorahs, enjoying traditional foods, and engaging in communal festivities.
Hanukkah is a time to embrace and celebrate Jewish heritage and values.

Israel – A Glowing Celebration in the Holy Land

Hanukkah holds immense importance in Israel, being celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervor. The streets of Jerusalem are illuminated with candlelight on all eight nights, as families display their menorahs for the neighborhood to see. Traditional foods like latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jam-filled doughnuts) are enjoyed, symbolizing the oil used to light the ancient temple. Hanukkah in Israel is a time of togetherness, joy, and embracing the rich Jewish heritage.

One of the most iconic traditions in Israel during Hanukkah is the impressive menorah lighting ceremony at the Western Wall, also known as the Kotel. Each night, a different public figure, ranging from political leaders to celebrities, has the honor of lighting the menorah. This event attracts locals and visitors alike, creating a vibrant atmosphere of unity and celebration.

“Hanukkah in Israel is a celebration that brings families, communities, and the entire nation together. The lighting of the menorah serves as a powerful symbol of hope, resilience, and the triumph of light over darkness.”

Another unique aspect of Hanukkah in Israel is the lively nightlife scene in Tel Aviv. The city comes alive with vibrant street parties and live music performances, drawing crowds of locals and tourists. From traditional Jewish music to modern Israeli tunes, the festive energy is palpable as people dance and celebrate into the night.

Hanukkah in Israel is an extraordinary experience, showcasing the country’s deep connection to its religious and cultural roots. The celebration serves as a reminder of the historical events and miracles that have shaped the Jewish identity throughout the centuries, representing a time of gratitude, reflection, and spreading light.

Traditional Israeli Hanukkah Foods

Latkes (potato pancakes)
Symbolize the oil used to light the ancient temple

Sufganiyot (jam-filled doughnuts)
Also represent the miracle of the oil

Levivot (Israeli-style pancakes)
A favorite Hanukkah treat

Australia – A Summer Celebration Down Under

In Australia, Hanukkah takes on a unique twist as it aligns with the summer season. The warm Australian weather adds a vibrant and lively atmosphere to the festivities, making it a truly memorable celebration. Families gather together each night to light the Hanukkah candles, creating a warm and inviting glow.

One of the highlights of Hanukkah in Australia is the festive block parties that take place the following day. These block parties bring the community together to celebrate and share the joy of Hanukkah. They are filled with delicious food, live music, and various activities for people of all ages.

“Hanukkah in Australia offers a unique opportunity to celebrate our Jewish heritage while enjoying the vibrant Australian culture. It’s a time to come together, soak up the sun, and spread the light of Hanukkah with our fellow Australians.”

Australian Hanukkah Traditions

Hanukkah in Australia is a time for embracing both Jewish traditions and Australian culture. While lighting the menorah is a central part of the celebration, there are also other customs that are unique to Australia. One popular tradition is making and eating sufganiyot, which are jelly-filled doughnuts. These delicious treats are enjoyed by people of all ages and add a sweet touch to the festivities.

The Australian Jewish community also takes pride in their commitment to tikkun olam (repairing the world) during Hanukkah. Many engage in acts of charity and volunteer their time to help those in need. This spirit of giving back reflects the values of Hanukkah and the importance of spreading light and joy to others.

Hanukkah Block Party

The Hanukkah block party is a beloved tradition in Australia, bringing together friends, family, and neighbors to celebrate the Festival of Lights. These vibrant gatherings feature live music, dancing, and delicious food. They provide a festive atmosphere where people can connect, have fun, and create lasting memories. The block parties often showcase the diversity and inclusivity of the Australian Jewish community, welcoming people from all backgrounds to join in the celebration.


Lighting the Menorah
Symbolizes the miracle of the oil in the ancient temple

Delicious jelly-filled doughnuts enjoyed during Hanukkah

Tikkun Olam
Commitment to repairing the world through acts of charity

Block Parties
Bringing the community together for festive celebrations

Hanukkah in France – Discreet Celebrations in Le Marais

In France, Hanukkah is celebrated discreetly by the approximately 480,000 Jews residing in the country. Despite the low-profile nature of the festivities, the vibrant neighborhood of Le Marais in Paris comes alive with the spirit of Hanukkah during the eight nights of celebration. Le Marais, known for its Jewish heritage, provides a warm and welcoming atmosphere for locals and visitors alike to partake in the holiday traditions.

One of the highlights of Hanukkah in France is the opportunity to savor delicious Middle Eastern and Jewish specialties. Local restaurants and bakeries serve a variety of delectable dishes, including challah, falafel, and bourekas. These culinary delights reflect the rich cultural heritage of French Jews and add a unique flavor to the celebrations in Le Marais.

“Hanukkah in France is a time for us to connect with our Jewish roots and celebrate our heritage. The neighborhood of Le Marais is like a second home during this festive season, with menorahs illuminating the streets and the aroma of traditional foods filling the air.”

The Unique Tradition of the Double Menorah

In the Alsace region of France, a fascinating tradition sets Hanukkah celebrations apart. Families here use a double menorah called a “mendele,” which has space for 16 lights instead of the usual nine. The extra candles allow both the father and son to light a candle together, symbolizing the passing down of traditions from one generation to the next.

This unique practice not only reinforces the importance of family bonds and continuity but also adds a distinctive aspect to the Hanukkah celebrations in France. It is a beautiful expression of the French Jewish community’s commitment to preserving their customs and honoring their ancestors.

Hanukkah Traditions in France
Traditional Foods
Unique Practices

Candle lighting ceremonies
Use of the mendele (double menorah)

Playing dreidel

Exchanging gifts

The celebrations may be discreet, but Hanukkah in France holds deep meaning for the Jewish community, providing an opportunity to connect with their heritage and share the joy of the Festival of Lights with loved ones.

Hanukkah in Colombia: A Flavorful Festivity with a Twist

Colombia, with its diverse cultural heritage, also boasts a vibrant Jewish community that celebrates Hanukkah in its own unique way. With approximately 8,000 practicing Jews, the majority residing in Bogotá, Hanukkah traditions in Colombia align with global customs, such as the lighting of menorahs and enjoying fried foods.

In the community of Santa Marta, a fascinating twist can be found in the Hanukkah celebration. Instead of the traditional potato latkes, the Jewish community in Santa Marta has added their own cultural touch by substituting it with fried plantain, a staple in Colombian cuisine. This flavorful twist adds a local flair to the festive celebration, highlighting the fusion of Jewish customs with Colombian culinary traditions.

“The festivities in Santa Marta are a true depiction of how our Jewish community embraces and integrates with our Colombian heritage. The fried plantain latkes are a creative and delicious way to honor both our Jewish and Colombian roots,” says Rafael Alvarez, a member of the Santa Marta Jewish community.

The Hanukkah celebrations in Colombia not only honor Jewish traditions but also showcase the vibrancy of the local culture and the efforts of the community to preserve their customs while incorporating Colombian influences. It is a time of togetherness, joy, and the sharing of delicious food, creating a festive atmosphere that reflects the spirit of Hanukkah.

Hanukkah in the United States is a time of joy, togetherness, and embracing the rich Jewish heritage. Whether through the traditional lighting of the menorah, indulging in delicious holiday foods, or creating new traditions that blend Christmas and Hanukkah, Americans celebrate Hanukkah with enthusiasm and respect for their cultural diversity. Through these cherished traditions, Hanukkah in the United States serves as a reminder of the strength and resilience of the Jewish community, and the importance of spreading light and joy in a world that can sometimes feel dark.

Hungary – A Magical Experience in Budapest

Hungary boasts one of the largest Jewish communities in Europe, with Budapest being a hub of Hanukkah festivities. The Grand Synagogue, a magnificent place of worship, becomes adorned with followers as they celebrate the miracle of lights. Hanukkah is a time of sacrifice and returning to one’s roots, with believers disconnecting from technology and embracing community spirit. Budapest’s streets are illuminated with menorahs, and special events and menus at local restaurants add to the magical atmosphere.

The Hungarian Hanukkah traditions are deeply rooted in history and culture, creating a unique experience for both locals and visitors alike. The Grand Synagogue in Budapest, also known as Dohány Street Synagogue, stands as a testament to Hungary’s rich Jewish heritage. With its stunning architecture and intricate details, it offers a captivating backdrop for Hanukkah celebrations.

“Hanukkah in Budapest is a time of unity and reflection. The flickering candlelight symbolizes the resilience of the Jewish community and reminds us of the importance of coming together,” says Rabbi David Rosenberg, a prominent figure in Budapest’s Jewish community.

During Hanukkah, Budapest transforms into a vibrant city of lights. Menorahs are displayed in public spaces, creating a mesmerizing sight for locals and tourists. The city’s streets come alive with the warmth and joy of the holiday season as families gather to light the menorah and share traditional Hanukkah treats.

To fully immerse in the Hungarian Hanukkah experience, visitors can explore the Jewish Quarter, where they will find a wide range of restaurants serving traditional dishes such as potato latkes, sufganiyot (jelly-filled doughnuts), and goulash. The vibrant atmosphere and delicious cuisine make Budapest an ideal destination for celebrating Hanukkah.

Table: Hanukkah Festivities in Budapest


Grand Menorah Lighting
First night of Hanukkah
Dohány Street Synagogue

Hanukkah Concert
Various dates throughout Hanukkah
Budapest Music Center

Jewish Cultural Festival
Throughout Hanukkah
Jewish Quarter

Traditional Hanukkah Market
Throughout Hanukkah
Kazinczy Street

England – A Shining Celebration in London

London, known as the world in one city, is home to a vibrant Jewish community of approximately 250,000. Each year, Trafalgar Square lights up with a giant menorah, attracting thousands of spectators. Hanukkah in England is a time of unity and solidarity, as families, synagogues, and the streets of London come alive with the glow of menorahs. The celebration symbolizes the strength and peace within the worldwide Jewish community.

One of the highlights of Hanukkah in London is the annual Menorah lighting ceremony in Trafalgar Square. The magnificent sight of the giant menorah, standing tall amidst the bustling city, is a truly awe-inspiring experience. The lighting ceremony brings people from all walks of life together, fostering a sense of inclusivity and understanding.

During Hanukkah, various events and activities take place across London, catering to all age groups. From festive concerts and family-friendly performances to cultural exhibitions and traditional Jewish cuisine, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Hanukkah in London is a time of celebration, reflection, and embracing the rich history and traditions of the Jewish faith.


Which countries celebrate Hanukkah?

Hanukkah is celebrated in numerous countries around the world, including Israel, Australia, France, Colombia, India, the United States, Hungary, and England.

How is Hanukkah celebrated in Israel?

Hanukkah is celebrated with great enthusiasm in Israel. Families display their menorahs, enjoy traditional foods like latkes and sufganiyot, and the streets of Jerusalem are illuminated with candlelight on all eight nights.

How is Hanukkah celebrated in Australia?

In Australia, Hanukkah aligns with the summertime. Families spend the nights at home lighting candles together, followed by festive block parties the next day to celebrate with the community.

What are some of the Hanukkah traditions in France?

Hanukkah is celebrated discreetly in France, particularly in the vibrant neighborhood of Le Marais in Paris. Delicious Middle Eastern and Jewish specialties can be savored, and a unique tradition in the Alsace region involves a double menorah.

How is Hanukkah celebrated in Colombia?

In Colombia, Hanukkah traditions align with global customs, such as lighting menorahs and enjoying fried foods. However, in the community of Santa Marta, a unique twist is seen with the tradition of eating fried plantain instead of the traditional potato latkes.

What are some of the Hanukkah traditions in India?

In India, instead of lighting wax candles, Indian Jews dip wicks in coconut oil to light their menorahs. They also indulge in barfi, a milk-based treat with sweet fruits, instead of traditional latkes.

How is Hanukkah celebrated in the United States?

In the United States, Hanukkah is marked by Jewish families exchanging gifts and sharing meals together. The concept of “Christmukkuh” emerged in mixed families, incorporating elements of both Christmas and Hanukkah.

How is Hanukkah celebrated in Hungary?

Hungary boasts one of the largest Jewish communities in Europe, with Budapest being a hub of Hanukkah festivities. The Grand Synagogue becomes adorned with followers as they celebrate the miracle of lights.

What are the Hanukkah celebrations like in England?

In England, Hanukkah is marked by communal celebrations. Trafalgar Square in London lights up with a giant menorah, and the streets come alive with the glow of menorahs, symbolizing strength, peace, and solidarity within the worldwide Jewish community.

The post Countries That Celebrate Hanukkah – Festival of Lights Worldwide appeared first on Zac Johnson.

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