Cross Currents Home
Resources | About Us | 日本語サイト
Home Learn About Japan Learn About Japan-U.S. Cross Currents Learn About the U.S.

A collection of brightly colored Easter eggs.
Cultural Holidays
  1. Chinese New Year
  2. Super Bowl Sunday
  3. Valentine’s Day (February 14)
  4. Groundhog Day
  5. Black History Month (February)
  6. St. Patrick’s Day (March 17)
  7. April Fools’ Day (April 1)
  8. Easter
  9. Passover (April)
  10. Cinco de Mayo (May 5)
  11. Mother’s Day (Second Sunday in May)
  12. Father’s Day (Third Sunday in June)
  13. Halloween (October 31)
  14. Ramadan
  15. Kwanzaa
  16. Hanukah
Listen in English English | Japanese Japanese View Article in English | Japanese
Children sing while holding signs in Hebrew.
Children perform a play for Hanukah.
Photo Courtesy of
Hanukah or the Festival of Lights, is a Jewish holiday. Hanukah is a Hebrew word that means “dedication.” The holiday begins at sunset on a date on the Jewish calendar that usually falls in December on the Western calendar. Hanukah is a joyful festival commemorating the re-dedication of the altar in the Temple of Jerusalem in the first century BCE (before the common era.) Hanukah commemorates the victory of the Maccabees over a Syrian king who had occupied present-day Israel and prohibited Jews from practicing their faith. When the Maccabees tried to rekindle the eternal light, they could only find enough ritually purified oil for one night. Miraculously, however, the oil lasted for eight nights. Today Jews celebrating Hanukah light a menorah, a branched candlestick with eithgt candles, adding an additional candle a night for eight nights to commemorate the miraculous event. Hanukah is a festive family occasion with special foods and song. Children often are given gifts, money, or chocolate coins. Songs are sung to commemorate the rededication of the temple. A popular Hanukah game is played with the dreidel, a four-sided spinning top with Hebrew letters that stand for “A Great Miracle Happened There.”
Download Podcast in English | Japanese
Document | Audio-Video | Chart | Picture | Map