Antiques and Heirlooms That Represent The 8 Days Of Hanukkah

Did you know much of the Jewish population lives primarily in Israel (6.5 million) and the United States (5.7 million)? One of the most sacred holidays is Hanukkah, which is an eight-day celebration of faith, family, festivities, and gift-giving.  There are also traditions like lighting a menorah and playing games like dreidel that Jewish families hold dear and pass on unique antiques and family heirlooms. Here are a few beloved items related to Hanukkah that Jewish families collect and often bring to Manzi’s for antique appraisals, appraisals for decorative arts, or fine art restoration.

Why Does Hanukkah Last for Eight Days?

When the Second Temple in Jerusalem was reclaimed in the second BC during the Maccabean Revolt, the people found that they only had enough oil for a lamp for one day. Instead, it lasted for eight days, which now represents the eight days of Hanukkah where one light is lit each day at sundown. This year, Hanukkah is observed in the United States between November 28, 2021, and December 6, 2021.

Hanukkah-Related Antiques & Family Heirlooms

  • Menorahs

Menorahs are symbolic of a family’s blessings. The candlestick typically has nine candle placeholders, with eight being synonymous with the eight-day festivities while the ninth is a shamash that is used to light the other candles. On the first night, one candle is lit, but for each night, the number of candles lit represents the number of the days of the festival until all eight of the candles are lit. Typically, families place menorahs on the windowsill so that people passing by can see them. For this reason, menorahs are cherished heirlooms that Jewish families place the greatest importance in.

  • Food Festivities

Like most American families, Jewish families are diverse yet are rooted in tradition. Traditionally, Jewish families may cook foods such as brisket, Matzo ball soup, latkes, sufganiyot, challah, kugel, rugelach, and gelt. Because Hanukkah is an important celebration, families also use specific tableware for serving dinner. Commonly, each family uses kitchenware and tableware such as latke servers, challah boards, patterned tableware such as the Mazel Tov plate, menorah centerpieces, gold or silver serving or flatware, Star of David cake pans, and blue mosaic glassware.

  • Gold & Silver Coins (Gelt)

Up until the end of the nineteenth century, businesses gave gelt as an end-of-the-year tip to workers. At the turn of the century, Jewish families began giving gold or silver wrapped gelt, which was chocolate-shaped coins, to children as Hanukkah gifts to represent the importance of charitable generosity. While the chocolates won’t last long, gold and silver coins are still highly sought after.

  • Judaic Dreidels

Scholars teach that when the Greeks outlawed Torah, dreidels were created by studying and reciting the verses verbally. Dreidels today are typically made of wood, clay, or plastic, but family heirlooms will likely be made from previous medals like iron and inlaid with silver Hebrew letters that represent Nes Gadol Hayah Sham which translates to a great miracle happened here.

If your family is preparing for Hanukkah and need antique repair or fine art restoration, Manzi Appraisers & Restorer is ready to help. You can contact us by calling our office at 617-948-2577. You can also follow us on Facebook by visiting where you can contact us directly. We would also love for you to comment about your Hanukkah must-haves.