VIDEO – At the square in front of the historical Frankfurt Opera House, a Hanukkah
menorah and a Christmas tree stand side by side in a crisp winter evening as Jews and non-Jews join in the celebration of the Jewish Festival of Lights.
Hanukkah is an eight-day festival commemorating the rededicating of the Temple in Jerusalem in 165 BC. The festival is observed by the kindling of the lights of a special candelabrum, the menorah or hanukkiah. The nightly candle lighting ceremonies are accompanied by music, singing and dancing.
“I really like it to be here together, to sing together, to celebrate Hanukkah together," says a Frankfurt resident. "It’s a beautiful holiday with a very beautiful atmosphere.”
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The tradition on Hanukkah is to eat fried foods, like sufganiyot
– jelly doughnuts – because oil is very important for this holiday.
In addition to lighting candles each night, families often exchange small gifts in the evening.
Hanukkah is probably one of the best known Jewish holidays because of its proximity to Christmas. And once the candle has been lit for the night, many people attending the Hanukkah celebration in Frankfurt take a 10-minute walk to the city’s main square, where the magic of a traditional German Christmas market is casting more visitors under its spell every year.
Here you can buy all kinds of German Christmas traditional things such as toys, wood carvings, marionettes and candles. Many are difficult to resist – as is a cup of hot mulled wine.
A typical German Christmas market is a celebration of community spirit, a feeling that we can all live together in peace and harmony, and this is also the spirit of Hanukkah.
Jews and Christians have much in common in celebrating at this time of year, and both Christmas and Hanukkah share the same spiritual message – that it is possible to bring light and hope to the world.