7 greetings to celebrate the Jewish festival

Hanukkah – also spelled Chanukah among other spellings – is the annual Jewish candlelight vigil that takes place in the winter.

The eight-day festival sees families gather to celebrate at home and involves various traditions, including special food, scripture readings, prayers and lighting of the menorah, the Hebrew word for a candelabra.

Hanukkah begins on the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev, which usually takes place in December. In 2021, Hanukkah runs from November 28 to December 6.

Here we look at some greetings and phrases to celebrate Hanukkah.

1. Happy Hanukkah

“Hanukkah sameach,” which means “happy Hanukkah,” can be used to greet each other during the festival.

Hanukkah is pronounced “ha-noo-kah.” According to 18Doors, a non-profit organization for interfaith families: “The big challenge here for many English speakers is the first heavy H-sound, like J in Jose or ch in Loch Ness.

“That’s why the holiday is sometimes spelled Chanukah,” the nonprofit explains.

2. Happy candlelight vigil

You can also say “Chag urim sameach”, which means “happy candlelight vigil.”

3. Good holiday

“Chag sameach,” which means “happy holiday,” can be said at any holiday or festival.

Pronounced “khahg sah-may-ach,” chag sameach should be said with “a heavy guttural hi beginning of the first word and end of the second,” according to 18Doors.

4. Festivals for joy

Or if you feel sophisticated, you could also say “Moadim l’simcha,” which means “festivals of joy,” says the nonprofit.

A family Hanukkah gathering.
A family gathered at a table for the Hanukkah celebration.
iStock / Getty Images Plus

5. Alternative good holiday

You may hear some say “gut yuntuv” (as well as “gut yom tov”), which also means “happy holiday” in Hebrew.

18Doors explains that the phrase is typically said on the Jewish holidays of Sukkot and Simchat Torah, Purim and Shavuot. But “it can really be said of any holiday,” notes the nonprofit.

6. Hanukkah Blessings

Since Hanukkah is a celebration of miracles and blessings, you can use phrases that incorporate both.

Below are some suggested phrases about blessings that could be used during Hanukkah, according to Hallmark, the greeting card company:

  • “May your Hanukkah be filled with unexpected blessings.”
  • “Thinking of you as we celebrate a season of miracles.”
  • “I wish you a season of peace.”
  • “This time of hope reminds us of our resilience. I wish you blessings in the coming year.”
  • “In a season of blessings, you are one of mine.”

7. Warm wishes for families

Hanukkah is also centered around the family so that greetings could send warm wishes to their loved ones using phrases like these below, as suggested by Hallmark:

  • “I wish you and yours a happy, healthy Hanukkah and New Year.”
  • “Think of your family when you celebrate a season full of traditions.”
  • “I wish you a season full of light and love.”
A Hanukkah menorah.
A menorah seen with the Star of David symbol.
iStock / Getty Images Plus

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