Eighth Night of Hanukkah

Happy Hanukkah!, Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Eighth Night of Hanukkah

(My memories from the 1990s)

On the eighth night of Hanukkah,

We’re celebrating with Grandma and Grandpa.

Candles will shed soft light

on the faces of our family tonight.

Children light the menorah carefully.

Their father smiles approvingly…

A quiet moment lingers like a dream…

before latkes, applesauce, and sour cream.

Enjoyed by glowing candlelight,

Hanukkah gelt is a sweet delight.

Children eagerly await

opening present number eight.

Photo by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

We sing,”Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel.”

Our pennies are on the table.

Spinning dreidels with Grandma, it’s clear,

“A great miracle happened here!”


CopyrightΒ© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


Hanukkah is the Jewish festival of lights that commemorates the rededication of the second temple. There was enough oil in the temple lamps to burn for only one night, but miraculously, it burned for eight nights. “A great miracle happened here!” is the message conveyed by the Hebrew letters on the dreidel. A dreidel is a top that is spun in a traditional gambling game. Our children and their grandma played for pennies.

Hanukkah is celebrated for eight nights. At sundown, the Hanukkah menorah is lit. One candle is lit on the first night. Another candle is added each night until, on the eighth night, all eight candles burn. Children receive a present on each night of Hanukkah.

A traditional Hanukkah food, latkes are grated potato pancakes fried in oil often served with applesauce and sour cream. The oil symbolizes the oil that burned for eight nights in the temple lamps. Hanukkah gelt is chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil. Our family also enjoyed chopped liver on matzos (similar to crackers) and matzo ball soup at Hanukkah.

83 Comments

  1. Awww… Loved the idea of giving gifts to kids for all the eight nights! πŸ’•πŸ’• Am sure you had good times with your grand parents back then! 😊 Thank you Cheryl for this informative poem. This is a interesting read.

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  2. My favourite Christmas times, were those spent at the grandparents home. All the family would be there, … we were a big happy tribe, my dad had 10 siblings, their partners, and there was more kids than I could count ….and our summer Christmas was always full of smiles and warmth, and the clear blue sky would be raining sunbeams of joy upon us all……. πŸ€ΆπŸŽ…

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    1. Your holiday celebrations sound awesome, Ivor. A family reunion! I also have very fond memories of family Christmas celebrations, especially when it snowed! But I can’t imagine the size of the gathering you are describing! ❀

      My children got to celebrate both Jewish and Christian holidays, but the big family gathering was Thanksgiving at our house. We thought it was big, but it was usually fewer than 20 people. πŸ™‚

      Thank you so much Ivor for sharing your family's holiday celebration. It sounds idyllic. What are your plans for this year? All the best! ❀ ❀ ❀

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      1. I was just chatting to my sister, and we’ll be having Christmas here, under my verandah .. there’s my siblings, partners, and a couple of kids….my sister is reluctant to let me drive to far…😊😚

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      1. David, maybe you can advise Deb (Please see his comment below.) about the candlestick his wife bought in a charity shop. He is wondering if it is a Hanukkah menorah. I am not sure if I gave him the best answer. I would appreciate it if you give him a more definitive answer than I can. πŸ™‚

        My late husband’s family is Jewish and my family is Christian. We celebrated Hannukah, Christmas, Passover, and Easter with our children every year. I think that maybe all of these holidays have a connection with the shortest and longest days of the year.

        I agree with you about Hanukkah being well-known because of its proximity to Christmas, especially in the US. It is also close to Diwali, which is another festival of lights. The Islamic school where I taught for four years used lights at Eid celebrations as well.

        Have a great day! ❀

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    1. Ashok, I am no expert in Jewish holidays, and I hope my information is accurate. My family is Christian, but I did enjoy learning about Jewish history, culture, and religion and celebrated holidays with my late husband’s family who are Jewish. Our children got to celebrate a lot of holidays with their wonderful grandparents! I have many happy memories of those days. πŸ™‚

      Hanukkah, like Diwali, is known as a festival of lights. I had a Hindu student once who told our class about Diwali, but I learned more about it this year while doing research for my Diwali Post.

      All the best! ❀ ❀ ❀

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    1. Hanukkah begins on the tenth this year, a little earlier than usual. Thank you, Frank, for your kind words and good wishes. I have fond memories of celebrating Hanukkah with my late husband’s family and Christmas with my family when my children were young. I plan to make some latkes in honor of those happy days, and I got our Christmas wreath up today. We will take all the holiday joy we can get! πŸ™‚ All the best to you, Frank! ❀

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    1. Thank you, Kumar, for your kind remarks. and good wishes. I always enjoyed celebrating Hanukkah with my late husband’s family and Christmas with my family. My children got a lot of holiday celebrations when they were young! πŸ™‚ I may make some latkes in honor of those special memories. Have a great day! ❀

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    1. Thank you, Michel, for your kind response. It means a lot to me that you enjoyed the post. I have many happy memories of celebrating Hanukkah with my late husband’s family and Christmas with my family. You can never have too many celebrations, I think! ❀ I hope you and your family are doing well and sharing the joys of the Christmas season!
      Love ❀
      Cheryl

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  3. Sounds like a wonderful and delightful festival, Cheryl! It’s so great to read about your reflections and fond memories. I’ve been away for a while but I’m glad to back and glad to be reading your wonderful poetry! Hope you are well. πŸ’˜πŸ’˜

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  4. This is very interesting Cheryl. The whole family celebrating Hanukkah by the light of candles, the children enjoying with their grandparents, the games, the food and the gifts. Wish you a happy Hanukkah in advance.

    And reminds me of many things, maybe unrelated but possibly related too. Long back my wife had bought a set of brass candles from a charity shop just before Christmas. I just counted and it had eight candles! Also few days back I bought a pack of golden foil wrapped chocolate coins for my daughter. I didn’t know about Hanukkah, so this is a happy coincidence πŸ™‚

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    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Deb. ❀ Maybe your daughter would enjoy researching about Hanukkah. it has an interesting history. I am not an expert on menorahs. Your candlestick may be a Hanukkah menorah. They usually have nine candles with one being used to light the others, but I have seen photos where the ninth candle was separate. Some other menorahs that are used on the Sabbath Day have seven candles, for the days of the week, I think. In any case, your candlestick sounds lovely. I hope your wife got a good deal on it!

      The chocolate coins you found are probably Hanukkah gelt. You might like making latkes, although they are pretty bland. I am sure there are recipes online. Your smiley face potato snacks remind me a little of latkes.

      My late husband's family is Jewish, and the celebrations described in the poem were about 25 years ago when my children were young. My family is Christian, so we also celebrated Christmas with our children. You can't have too much joy in your life! πŸ™‚ I may make some latkes and remember those happy Hannukahs when my children were young. πŸ™‚ Have a great day! ❀

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      1. Thanks Cheryl, again another cultural learning for me. I learn so much from your fascinating Blog πŸ’– I am quite confident in the Hanukkah gelts, not quite that much on the menorah! I put a new post with the picture for David who is so kind. My wife had bought eight as a set but distributed all but one amongst the family πŸ™‚ so we hold one at present.
        And lovely to know that you still remember those burnt potato smilies. Any snack with potatoes is a favourite with us, am sure we will love the latkes too πŸ™‚

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    2. Deb, is there any way you could share a photo of your candles? I’d be curious to see if they are indeed a Chanukiah (a menorah for Chanukah). It is definitely possible for 8 separate candles to be sold as a set as a Chanukiah.

      As Cheryl wrote, there’s usually a ninth candle to act as a “helper” which is called the Shamash… but in truth the actual tradition doesn’t require a Chanukiah – it only requires that there be candles for each night of the holiday.

      -David

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      1. Thank you David for your kind reply. First of all many apologies as I was away and didn’t see you message. I am again thankful to you. I didn’t know how to share a picture so I shared in a new post. My wife bought eight identical ones as a set and distributed amongst the family and we currently hold one of them with us πŸ™‚ I have put a picture in the new post, not sure if it’s part of a Chanukiah. The coins we bought would have been Hanukkah gelts I think.

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      2. Yes, I got caught on with the number eight, but later I checked out photos on the net and saw the structure of Chanukiah are indeed different. Thanks for kindly confirming David. Of course, Yes, it can certainly be used for the worship, and it does get used for worship πŸ™‚
        And thanks again for your kind words on the poem, means a lot to me πŸ™

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      1. Thank you Cheryl for you kindness in helping me understand. And sorry for the delayed reply, I was again away from WP for few days, I have been so irregular of late 😟 Hope you are doing well and getting ready for Christmas πŸ™‚

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  5. When I lived in South Florida, we would celebrate Hanukkah with our Jewish friends and they would celebrate Christmas with us. We had such joyous times and lovely learning experiences together. I hope you enjoy your festivities.

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    1. Thank you, Eugenia, for sharing your beautiful experiences! ❀ In an ideal world, we would always share each other's joys!

      The biggest holiday for our family was on Thanksgiving. My late husband's Jewish family and my Christian family celebrated it together at our house for many years when we lived in Miami Beach.

      Have a very Merry Christmas!

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  6. lovely poem Cheyrl!
    Such beautiful visions of Hanukkahh nad I will be making latkes in honor of the night with chocolate coins and lighting candles. It is such a rich heritage and wonderful traditions in Judaism! ❀️ Cindy

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      1. Love the poem! It’s also a great thing knowing what to eat for dinner with the guess work taken out of it. Renee’s Kindergarten teacher always made them and put out a cookbook with ih so special.. We sure do. All is good and I hope with you❀️ xo

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  7. Great post, Cheryl. Using the block editor with my last poem, I tried to space the couplets together with smaller line spacing and then separate them with a larger space in between. It worked for desktop and laptop screens, but not for the iPhone. I noticed you finally went with the format I had to go with to work on all three devices. Have you had the same experience with the block editor? It’s supposed to enhance creative displays, but I find that it’s just a pain to use.

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    1. Hi, David. I have had my website for about five years. Some pages are still in the older format. I really was not thrilled with the change, but I “went with the flow.” I added the blog about six months ago, and it is all in the block editor. I put spaces between elements using the “spacer” I don’t have a smartphone, just a laptop, so that’s not an issue for me.

      Glad you liked the post. Have a great weekend! ❀

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    1. David, I am glad the poem brought back warm memories for you. I miss the old days too. At this point in life, my holiday celebrations are simple: a lighted wreath, a couple of poinsettias, carols on YouTube, a few Hanukkah cards, latkes, and phone calls with my children.

      Have a joyous holiday season! ❀

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    1. Thank you for reading and commenting. I appreciate it very much. This poem was written about the time our family lived in Miami Beach… a long time ago, and some very happy memories! How long have you lived in Miami? Have a great week!

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