What is Hanukkah gelt?

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You might be familiar with seeing or receiving little chocolate coins covered with gold foil during Hanukkah. These special chocolate coins are called “gelt” (which means “money” in Yiddish) and are often used as a modern-day version of an old tradition to give out coins as gifts during Hanukkah!

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!

Some historians also say the practice of giving gelt on Hanukkah goes back to an 18th-century tradition in which Jewish children would give a gift of coins to their religious teachers during Hanukkah, as a way to show thanks. Eventually this tradition evolved into giving coins to children!

Gelt is also exchanged on Hanukkah as a reminder of giving back to those who are in needpeople who receive Hanukkah gelt are encouraged to give some away to charity!

by   (whyzz writer)
  • Further information

    Many 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!
  • Exploration

    Gelt & 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!
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