Festivals and Holidays

Jewish Festivals

For more than 3,000 years the Jewish people have shared a common heritage. Throughout this time they have lived in different lands and among different cultures. They have often suffered great hardships and also many attempts to destroy their national identity as a people.

Yet they have kept alive a sense of who they are. They have kept their identity as a culture. This is due, in part, to the celebrating of the Jewish festivals.

The Jewish year is filled with festivals that are celebrated today just as they have been throughout the ages. The majority of these festivals commemorate a part of Jewish history. They also embody the values and beliefs of the people.

Festivals are important to all people.

They play a role in:

  • keeping alive the memory of great events in a people's history;
  • giving people a sense of belonging, (belonging to the family, community or nation that celebrates the festival together);
  • passing on the traditions to the next generation;
  • providing a sense of rhythm to the year, (all people benefit from a sense of rhythm and continuity in their lives);
  • expressing things that a society values, (what they value from the past and what they value today);
  • giving people a feeling of identity and security;
  • bringing joy, happiness and a sense of fun into people's lives.


  1. Carry out research on the Festival of Hanukkah.
  2. Read together the reasons (above) why festivals/holidays are important to people.
  3. Examine the Festival of Hanukkah to find how each role (above) is fulfilled in the Festival of Hanukkah.
  4. Give an example in each case of how this festival fills the different roles for the Jewish People.

You will find additional information here

The religious beliefs were monotheistic and, therefore, different from other nations.

The Israelites had strong religious leaders that kept alive their religious beliefs.

The religion of the Israelites was not only a spiritual code but also the law by which they lived.

Evaluation of the Final Task

Joyce and David Mollet
WideHorizon Education Resources
San Diego

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