Hanukkah Food List: Traditional Symbolic Foods to Celebrate

Honey puffs and latkes have symbolic Hanukkah beginnings

Hanukkah Dinner
Guy Cali/Getty Images

During Hanukkah, families eat latkes and sufganiot and other foods to celebrate the miracle of the Festival of Lights, the miracle of a night’s supply of lamp oil that provided light for eight nights, that took place during the rededication of the Holy Temple of Jerusalem. Traditional Hanukkah foods are not for the faint of heart since most are fried and/or loaded with cheeses. So, if you need to watch your cholesterol, eat sparingly of this holiday's special treats.

These traditional and not so traditional variations of Hanukkah recipes are sure to please all, even if you're not Jewish.

Hanukkah Symbolic Foods

According to Jewish law, Hanukkah is one of the less important Jewish holidays. However, Hanukkah has become much more popular in modern practice because of its proximity to Christmas. The traditional foods consumed during the Hanukkah holiday are symbolic of the events being celebrated. Most are fried in oil, symbolic of the oil that lasted eight days. Others contain cheese to celebrate Judith's victory.

Loukoumades are deep-fried puffs dipped in honey or sugar to represent the cakes the Maccabees ate, along with Soofganiyot (also Sufganiyot) and zelebi.

Pancakes are a traditional dish, serving as a reminder of the food hurriedly prepared for the Maccabees as they went into battle, along with the oil they are fried in as a reminder of the miraculous oil.

were originally symbolic of the cheesecakes served by the widow Judith, and later evolved to the potato/vegetable fried most known today. Many cheese and dairy dishes are consumed in memory of brave Judith.

Newer Hanukkah Traditions

Celebrating Hanukkah usually includes lighting the menorah – more traditionally called the “hanukkiah” – with recollection of stories of the Maccabees and nights long ago.

Though the traditional holiday doesn't include opening presents, the holiday's proximity to Christmas has created a new tradition of buying presents for children. Another newer tradition in the United States is the baking of butter cookies or pretzels in the shape of Hanukkah symbols while relating the stories. Children delight in helping make cookies and learning about traditions as they create and eat as well.

Hanukkah Recipes

The recipe collection includes many Hanukkah favorites such as , , cheese, gilt coins, , soft pretzels, brisket, tongue, and more. Although these foods are particularly significant during Hanukkah, you will enjoy them year-round.

More About Hanukkah

• Hanukkah History
• Hanukkah Traditional Symbolic Foods
• Hanukkah Recipes


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