Hanukkah is a magical time to be in Israel with events across the country. Hanukkah in Israel is widely celebrated and while it isn’t a holiday on which businesses close, schools are on holiday and families are out and about exploring the country and taking advantage of the many events taking place to celebrate the ‘festival of light’. Hanukkah in 2019 begins on December 22 and continues for 8 nights, until December 30, 2019.
Hanukkah is the festival of light – for more information about the festival and its significance, see our article about Hanukkah. See also: Hanukkah in Jerusalem, and Hanukkah in the North of Israel.
Events during Hanukkah in Israel
Throughout December – Holiday of Holidays. This event in Haifa offers festivities to celebrate the major festivals of its Jewish, Christian, and Muslim residents, in Hanukkah, Christmas, and Ramadan. Almost every day of the month, and especially at weekends, there are concerts, exhibitions, tours, shows, and conferences.
On December 22, 2019 – at Tel Aviv Independence Park, live music, a workshop for kids, and Menorah Lighting.
The annual Hanukkah Torch Relay marks the beginning of the holiday in Israel. People line the road from the city of Modi’in (outside Tel Aviv) to the Western Wall in Jerusalem, passing a burning torch from hand to hand. The torch then lights the giant hanukkiah (menorah) at the Western Wall. Modi’in is believed to have been the home of Hanukkah’s heroes, the Maccabees, and the place where the Maccabean revolt began.
Get a true feel for the Hanukkah festival by going back in time. The holiday story is recreated every year at the Hasmonean Village in Shilat. Learn the story of the Maccabees, harvest olives, create mosaics and make wax candles.
The annual Ein Yael Oil Festival in Jerusalem also takes you back to ancient times. Make olive oil the old-fashioned way alongside different activities.
The Israel Nature and Parks Authority wants you to take a hike. Rangers lead storytelling hikes and offer environmentally oriented activities for kids, including making ecological hanukkiahs.
The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel always has a range of Hanukkah events on offer for the whole family. Guides lead groups through some of Israel’s finest natural settings.
Hanukkah is the festival of oil, so where better to start than at the Museum of Edible Oil Production (2 Tuviya Street, Haifa Bay) in Haifa? In a country overflowing with museums of every size and nature, the holiday is a great time to pack the family and go get cultured. Almost every museum offers special holiday activities for the whole family.
The Tower of David Museum always offers something special for Hanukkah, as do the Israel Children’s Museum in Holon, the Israel Museum in Jerusalem and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art , among many others.
There are many more great events – see our dedicated articles:
Hanukkah in Jerusalem
Hanukkah in the North of Israel