Miracle of Oil

December 7th’s sundown marks the start of Hanukkah, the Jewish holiday also known as the Festival of Lights. It celebrates the miracle that happened when the brave Maccabees took back their Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Even though they had only one jar of oil, the menorah (candles) they lit burned for 8 whole days. That’s why Hanukkah lasts 8 nights and 8 days, with traditions and special foods — like oily donuts!

Wee ones: Hanukkah lasts 8 nights – can you count all the way up to 8 out loud?

Little kids: If the 8 regular candles are divided evenly on either side of the shamash, how many candles are on each half?  Bonus: If you light the candles at 6 pm and they could burn for 8 hours, at what time would they finally stop? (Hint if needed: Midnight is 12:00, and an hour later the hours start over at 1.)

Big kids: If 8 million people eat 17 million donuts this week, about how many donuts per person is that?  Bonus: On the first night you light the center candle (shamash) plus 1 more, then the next night you light the center candle plus 2 more…so by then you’ve lit 5 candles (2 the first night, 3 the second night). How many candles will you need for all 8 evenings in total?

Answers:
Wee ones: Count out loud together: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8!

Little kids: 4 candles on each side.  Bonus: 2:00 in the morning.

Big kids: About 2 donuts per person.  Bonus: 44 candles, which is 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 + 8 + 9.

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