JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As many of the Jewish faith celebrate this year’s Festival of Lights, which begins at sundown Tuesday, a national survey aims to put to rest the issue of how to spell the holiday.
There has been confusion about the spelling of the holiday since the first celebration more than 2,000 years ago. Since the original spelling was in Hebrew, the language from which the name of the Jewish festival originates, the word is not easily transliterated into English. This accounts for why there are four commonly spelling variants: Hanukkah, Hanukah, Chanukah and Channukah.
The results of a Harris Poll of 2,171 U.S. adults 18 and over found that 59 percent of Americans preferred the spelling Hanukkah, even though respondents who identify as Jewish are more likely to prefer spelling it Chanukah.
“While planning for the upcoming holiday season, we realized that we at Manischewitz, did not have a shared consensus on how to spell the holiday,” company president and CEO David Sugarman said. “As the largest marketer of kosher foods in North America, we thought it would be both fun and festive to have Americans weigh in to help us to determine what the preference actually is."
Hanukkah is the eight-day celebration that commemorates the re-dedication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire. Traditional celebrations include lighting the menorah, playing the dreidel game, eating delicious foods and enjoying the fun of gift-giving.