Hannukah Adapts to American Culture

December 19, 2003

Source: KATU News


On December 19, 2003 KATU News printed an article by the Associated Press on the increased popularity of Hannukah in America. Hannukah is a minor Jewish holiday compared to Rosh Hashana, Passover and Yom Kippur, and was traditionally celebrated by lighting a menorah, or candelabra, for eight nights. Children received coins - real or chocolate - called gelt, as gifts. These trends "changed in the United States when Jewish immigrants, eager to adapt to American culture, took notice of secular Christmas traditions and began incorporating them into their own celebrations...Americans of other faiths have also played a role in the holiday hype, promoting Hanukkah in an effort to honor religious diversity, said Samuel Heilman, a sociologist at the City University of New York and an expert on American Judaism."