Hanukkah gelt (Yiddish: חנוכה געלט ḥanukah gelt ;
Hebrew: דמי חנוכה dmei ḥanukah, both meaning literally
Hanukkah money") refers to money as well as chocolate coins given to
Jewish children on the festival of Hanukkah.
3 See also
Rabbi A. P. Bloch has written that
"The tradition of giving money (Chanukah gelt) to children is of long
standing. The custom had its origin in the 17th-century practice of
Polish Jewry to give money to their small children for distribution to
their teachers. In time, as children demanded their due, money was
also given to children to keep for themselves. Teenage boys soon came
in for their share. According to
Magen Avraham (18th century), it was
the custom for poor yeshiva students to visit homes of Jewish
benefactors who dispensed Chanukah money (Orach Chaim 670). The rabbis
approved of the custom of giving money on Chanukah because it
publicized the story of the miracle of the oil."
According to popular legend, it is linked to the miraculous victory of
Maccabees over the ancient Greeks. To celebrate their freedom, the
Hasmoneans minted national coins. It may also have begun in
18th-century Eastern Europe as a token of gratitude toward religious
teachers, similar to the custom of tipping service people on
Christmas. In 1958, the
Bank of Israel
Bank of Israel issued commemorative coins
for use as Hanukka gelt. That year, the coin bore the image of the
same menorah that appeared on Maccabean coins 2,000 years ago.
American chocolatiers of the 20th century picked up on the gift/coin
concept by creating chocolate gelt. In the 1920s, Loft's, an American
candy company, produced the first chocolate gelt, wrapped in gold or
silver foil in mesh pouches resembling money bags.
Chocolate 'geld' is also given to children as part of the St. Nicholas
holiday in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands (geld, spelled with a
d, being both the Dutch and German word for money). Today most of
Hanukkah gelt sold in the United States is imported,
including from Dutch firms Steenland
Chocolate and the Israeli firms
Elite and Carmit. Gourmet versions of chocolate gelt have been
produced in the United States and Europe as well.
Parents often give children chocolate gelt to play dreidel with. In
terms of actual gelt (money), parents and grandparents or other
relatives may give sums of money as an official
According to a survey done in 2006, 74 percent of parents in Israel
give their children Chanukah gelt.
In Hasidic communities, the Rebbes distribute coins to those who visit
them during Hanukkah. Hasidic Jews consider this to be an auspicious
blessing from the Rebbe, and a segulah for success. The amount is
usually in small coins.
List of candies
^ Abraham P. Bloch (1980). The Biblical and Historical Background of
Jewish Customs and Ceremonies. KTAV Publishing House, Inc.
^ a b c d e The gelt chronicles, Leah Koenig, The Jewish Daily
Forward, reprinted in Haaretz, November 12, 2009;
Rabbi Deborah R.
Prinz, "Chanukkah and Christmas
Chocolate Melt into Gelt," in On the
Chocolate Trail: A Delicious Adventure Connecting Jews, Religions,
History, Travel, Rituals and Recipes to the Magic of Cacao, Jewish
Lights Publishing, 2013.
^ Isaacs, Ronald H. (2008-04-04). Bubbe Meises: Jewish Myths, Jewish
Reality. KTAV Publishing House, Inc. p. 81.
^ "74% מבתי האב בישראל נוהגים לתת דמי
חנוכה" (in Hebrew). 74% of the households in
Israel tend to give
Chanukah gelt - Consumer
Ma'oz Tzur (Rock of Ages)"
"The Chanukah Song"
Temple in Jerusalem
Miracle of the cruse of oil
Antiochus IV Epiphanes
List of rulers