How is Hannukah celebrated in France. Are the traditions the same? What is different? Let's delve at PumpjackPiddlewick

Hannukah celebrations this year are from the 18th to 26th December (2022). I wrote about celebrating Hannukah originally in our Fab Findings from France Facebook Group. It was interesting to research the traditions as well as variations for France. And I decided to expand on it here in a blog post.

A Little Background

Hannukah is celebrated over 8 days and nights, but the start date moves. This is because it is based on the Jewish Calendar, which is a lunar calendar. (The lunar calendar is based on the cycle of the moon, not the sun as the Gregorian calendar is). Hannukah begins on the 25th day of Kislev, which may fall anytime in November or December, though usually somewhere between Thanksgiving (last Thursday in November) and Christmas. Hannukah is spelled Hanoucca in French.

There are approximately a half million Jewish people in France. France has the largest Jewish population in Europe.

Fête des Lumières 

Hannukah is also known as the Festival of Lights in France, which comes from the lighting of the Menorah. The word menorah is Hebrew for lamp. It is a candelabra of 7 or 8 candle holders, plus one central candle holder. The 8 socket candelabra is used for celebrating the eight days of Hannukah, with one candle lit each day.

Hannukah in France follows the tradition of lighting the Menorah, gift giving and eating selected (mostly fried) foods. But it can also vary slightly region to region, even city to city, particularly public celebrations. The city of Nice has a parade after the public lighting of the menorah. Whilst at the opposite end of the country, Strasbourg has a concert.

Not really surprisingly, Paris has the most synagogues, 8 within the city. There are many public lightings of the Menorah that can you can join in, one each night of the 8 nights, each in a different location. The main private one is done in the Grand Synagogue de Paris. If you wish to know more about where to celeberate Hannukah in Paris, including tours and Jewish Bakeries, check out Paris Discovery Guide.

For More

You’ll find more in-depth information on the celebration of Hannukah in France in this article from the Chicago Jewish News.

For a view into Hannukah celebrations in Paris:

More about France?

If you would like to read more insights and musing on life in France, check out my French Findings.

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