So you think you know all-things Chanukah inside out? Here are seven Chanukah customs you might not have heard of..
The Jewish holidays are truly special in the sense that they unite Jews around the world, bringing together people who may have absolutely nothing in common. It's only natural that we all do things a little bit differently. Here are some interesting Chanukah customs from around the world that you may not have heard about!
The children went from house to house, tins in hand, to collect wicks for the Chanukah Menorah. They would chant (in Yemenite): "O father Salim, give us a present." If they received wick-ends along with fruits, candies and coins, they would respond in Hebrew - "sleep well." But if they didn't get anything, neither wicks nor goodies, they would shout in Yemenite: You miser, may your wicks be as dry as your bones!"
The children wore blue clothing on Chanukah: blue for the color of the heavens, the abode of the Holy One who sent forth the miracles of Chanukah.
The eighth and last night of Chanukah used to be very special. All the left-over wicks and oil were lit in giant bonfires... People sang songs and danced around the fire, often until the small hours of the night.
In Southern France:
On the evening following the Shabbat of Chanukah, the Jews of Avignon opened casks of new wine. Parties would roam from place to place tasting the new wine and toasting the holiday.
The fifth night of Chanukah has been called "The Black Fifth Night", after that fateful night during World War I when the Turks expelled all Jewish residents from Tel Aviv and Jaffa. Chanukah presents are de-emphasized in Israeli Chanukah observance.
Women would specially commemorate the seventh day of Chanukah on which day the widow Judith is said to have performed her brave acts during the period of Syrian Greek dominance. In Tunis, the women would come to the synagogue and file past the Torah and kiss it as they passed; concurrently the men would complete the Talmudic study of Tractate Shabbat, containing the story of Chanukah.
In North Africa:
The seventh night of Hanukkah is a special celebration for women.
And then there's how the other half celebrate:
Last years Roman Abramovich’s (lighting the menorah) Chanukah Party’s held on the Caribbean Island of St Barts was one of the most sought-after party invitations of the year. At an estimated cost of 5 million dollars it was attended by the who’s who list of celebrities and sports stars including Orlando Bloom, Kanye West, Prince, Gwen Stefani, Will-I-Am, George Lucas and Ellen De Generes the entertainment was headed by Beyonce