Christmas vs. Hanukkah: Festive Time of Year

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Difference between Christmas and Hanukkah

Since Christmas and Hanukkah come so close together, it is only natural that comparisons would be made between the two holidays. Many in the Jewish community actually hold Hanukkah up to the level of Christmas, while others tend to downplay it so as not to confuse it with the Christian holiday. Let's see what the two holidays have in common and how they differ.  



Christmas is a Christian holiday that is celebrated by many other faiths as well. The holiday falls on December 25, which is the universally accepted date of birth of Jesus Christ, who is Christianity’s central figure. Although there is no clear indication that this is in fact the exact date of birth of Jesus, it corresponds with the winter solstice in the Roman calendar, which according to Christian teaching is the date on which Jesus was conceived.

Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday that is also known as the Festival of Lights. The holiday actually lasts for eight days, and it is held to commemorate the re-dedication of the Holy Temple of Jerusalem during the Maccabean Revolt in 168-165 B.C. the start of the Hanukkah celebration is on the 25th day of Kislev, which varies from the latter part of November to the latter part of December according to the Gregorian calendar.

How It Is Celebrated

Although Christmas is a Christian holiday, it is also celebrated by many people of different faiths from around the world. This isn't really that surprising, since many of the customs associated with Christmas are secular on origin, and many have been practiced before Christianity was established. In any case, Christmas is typically celebrated with the exchange of gifts and greeting cards, as well as a church celebration. There is also a special meal held on either the day itself, the night before or both. In addition, people typically put up a Christmas tree along with lights and various other decorations associated with Christmas. Christmas is also associated with Santa Claus, who is a mythical figure whose origins can be traced to St. Nicholas.

Hanukkah is celebrated with the lighting of the Menorah, which is a candelabrum with nine branches. This is reflective of the holiday’s association as the Festival of Lights. One candle is lighted on each day of the holiday, and by the eight day, all 8 candles will have been lit.


Hanukkah has achieved increased prominence over the past several years, particularly in North America, where many Jewish families have sough to establish a holiday that serves as an alternative to Christmas. While the holiday was traditionally marked by the giving of coins to children, this was later changed to gift-giving customs that more closely resembled the Christmas tradition of giving gifts. 

Similarities and Differences


  • A Christian holiday celebrated by many other faiths as well
  • Falls on December 25; the universally accepted date of birth of Jesus Christ


  • A Jewish holiday also known as the Festival of Lights
  • Held to commemorate the re-dedication of the Holy Temple of Jerusalem during the Maccabean Revolt in 168-165 B.C. 

comments 18 Comments

  • Elizabeth Ashkewe . 3+ yrs. ago

Christmas is not a christian holiday. It is a pagan holiday and has nothing to do with Jesus' birth. Do your research.

  • George Naranjo . 3+ yrs. ago

Ummm... its a christian Holiday sweetie.... do your research...

  • kenneth shepherd . 3+ yrs. ago

matthew 13:11,he,(jesus),answered and said unto them,because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the the kingdom of heaven,but to them it is not given. matthew 15:8-9,this people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth,and honoureth me with their lips;but their heart is far from me.but in vain they do worship me,teaching for the commandments of men. matthew 13:9,who hath ears to hear let them hear. now,when it says who has ears to hear let them hear.what is it talking about?is it what man tells you through our own traditions,or,is it what the spirit is expressing to us?i wont give the answer,only allow the eternal father reveal the truth through the comforter!in my king james version there is no place in it nowhere where jesus celebrated his birthday,and neither did his apostles.why,do other faith respond to christmas?i thought christmas was the birth of christ jesus,when they DONT believe in jesus.see when the romans gave birth to christmas?so everyone else please do their homework.please leave a comment!!i am with you elizabeth,keep searching the scriptures along with the holy spirit!

  • unknown . 3+ yrs. ago

where do you even get your info from? Christmas is a Christian Holiday sweetie

  • bella . 3+ yrs. ago

It is up to how you want to celebrated,,,for me commemorate his birth...

  • Stelman King . 3+ yrs. ago

Please do some research as you prompt us to do. You will see that even the Word comes from Christs Mass shortened to Christmas. This is easily found here on the net in literally hundreds of places. Before you tell people to know what they are talking about. Y

ou need to practice what you preach.

  • Evan Malz . 3+ yrs. ago

Okay then, first of all, we no longer use a Menorah on Chanukah, (notice I wrote "Chanukah" instead of "Hanukkah", which is the incorrect spelling of the holiday) instead, we use a Chanukia. A menorah has 8 branches, as for a chanukia has 9 branches, the middle one slightly higher than the other 8 branches. The middle one, the "shamash" (helper) is used to light the other 8 candles. On the first night of Chanukah, using the shamash, we light the first candle to the right of the chanukia, followed by the first 2 candles on the right on the second night, and so on, until the 8th night, when all the candles should be lit.

  • bbbbbb . 3+ yrs. ago

actually the correct spelling is unknown!!!

  • Jules . 3+ yrs. ago

The menorah has seven branches the hanukkiah has nine!

  • manmademagic . 3+ yrs. ago

There are tons of comparisons that can be made between Christmas and other religious ceremonies outside of Christmas. I have to back up the grinch on this one minus the menorah mistake. According to the bible,"some shepherds staying out in the fields [who were] keeping watch over their flock by night" Luke(2:8. With this you have to realize shepherds wouldn't be in the fields in December, its dry season in Bethlehem. As far as the chanukia goes which is still considered a menorah is set up from right to left and is lit from left to right. Regardless, religion in general is man made and Santa Clause or St. Nicholas was a guy who paid for woman to get married. Wikipedia can be edited by anyone.

  • Tamato, Tomatoe . 3+ yrs. ago

Potato, potatoe

  • Mark . 3+ yrs. ago

The Maccabean Revolt was not in 2 B.C but before 164 BC. The temple was rededicated around 164 BC. Which is how Hannukah got started. Hannukah is also known as the feast of dedication, which Yeshua observed. Also Jesus was born around 2 BC in the months of September or October which is Tishri on the Jewish calendar.

  • Freakshow . 3+ yrs. ago

Who even cares! This stuff is boring!

  • Coal . 3+ yrs. ago

No it's no it not **** hole

  • Raju . 3+ yrs. ago

We need to stop it's a Christian thing and pagan

  • Sharon Tillman . 3+ yrs. ago

The day is what you choose to make it. You can make to be about our Savior or you can make it about secular things.

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