The tradition of giving coins on Hanukkah has a few different roots. One reason is to symbolize and celebrate freedom. Hanukkah celebrates the Jews’ victory over the Syrians, who had tried to outlaw the Jewish religion. After defeating the Syrians, the Jews were once again able to print their own coins and money, which was a sign that they were truly free!
Further informationMany families today exchange gifts on Hanukkah instead of gelt, as part of the modern-day cultural tradition of giving presents during the holidays. That’s why chocolate coins are often substituted for the traditional coins – as an extra treat and a reminder of the original tradition!
ExplorationGelt & Giving
If you get some extra “gelt” or money during the holidays, what are some places where you might donate to charity? You could give away a toy or book to a collection for kids who don't have a lot, or you could give a little money to a charity that provides food to the homeless!
What are some other nice charities or ways to give back? This year, look into sharing your holiday loot!
Sources & links
Koenig, Leah. “The gelt chronicles.” The Forward. 12 Nov. 2009. Haaretz. 14 Dec. 2009 Bramen, Lisa. “Hanukkah Gelt, and Guilt.” Food & Think. 11 Dec. 2009. Smithsonian Institution. 14 Dec. 2009 “Hanukkah Gelt.” Jewish Outreach Institute. 14 Dec. 2009