Hanukkah is an 8-day celebration amongst those of the Jewish faith. Although technically Hanukkah is celebrated everywhere where there is a Jewish population, Israel is the only country in the world in which the government aligns itself completely with the Jewish faith. This means that in Israel, Jews are considered both a faith and a culture, so even those who lean towards more atheistic beliefs can still be considered Jews if they have culturally been raised within those traditions. A person is also considered Jewish if their mother practices their faith.
Every year, millions of Jews from around the world take a trip to Israel for their "Birthright" trip, which is a state-sponsored trip that welcomes Jews from every country to come and experience their own roots and culture. Although it is heavily contested by some surrounding countries of the Islamic faith, Israel is recognized by many countries as the only purely Jewish nation. Hanukkah is an extremely sacred holiday here as a result, with each day more significant than the last.
Hungary contains one of the world's largest cultural diversities but also contains one of the world's largest places of worship for those of the Jewish faith. Named the "Grand Synagogue", many Hungarians and Eurasian Jews come to celebrate Hanukkah in Hungary to receive a glorious experience. During Hanukkah, the synagogue is adorned with many followers as they celebrate the miracle of lights. The story is extremely ancient, where a group of faithful Jews only have enough oil to burn throughout a single night, but miraculously, the oil burned for 8 days straight and was able to find salvation in the surrounding landscape and people.
Hanukkah is also a time for sacrifice, so the Synagogue is not laden with riches and baubles during this time. Much like every Sabbath of the Jewish faith, believers and cultural followers everywhere observe the importance of returning to their roots, free of technology and other modern inventions that have brought their attention away from the teachings of the faith. Although Hungary is an epicenter of faiths, Jews congregate at the Grand Synagogue for a sense of community with each other. The 8 days of Hanukkah are often forward-looking for children, as it is traditional to receive a gift every night. If the stories are to be followed, each gift should have significant importance rather than be about material wealth.
Although there are an enormous number of Jewish communities within the United States, Hanukkah is not considered a national holiday. With this being said, New York City has one of the most spectacular and popular Hanukkah celebrations in the world during the winter season. Menorahs are lit, both on a grandiose scale and symbolically, as followers of the Jewish faith get together at homes, synagogues, and the streets of downtown NYC. Building upon the celebration of a light miracle, streets are practically consumed with wonderful colors and bright lights, symbolizing strength and peace throughout the world.
Jewish Population (Sept 21)
% of Global Jewish Population
|United Arab Emirates||500|
|Republic of the Congo||500|
|United States Virgin Islands||500|
Only one country officially celebrates Hanukkah.
Although the holiday is celebrated around the world, Hanukkah is officially celebrated only in Israel.