What Are Some Traditional Foods to Eat During Hanukkah Celebrations?

Traditional foods for Hannukah include crispy latkes, fresh doughnuts, kugel, challah and beef brisket. Also known as the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah is an 8-day Jewish holiday that celebrates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem during the Maccabean Revolt of the second century. In 2015, it starts from sunset of Dec. 6 to nightfall of Dec. 14.

Latkes are typically fried potato pancakes that are especially popular among Ashkenazi Jews. However, Hungarian Jews eat latkes made of cheese. Modern variations of the latke are made of carrots and apples.

Fresh doughnuts, or sufganiyot, are round, jelly or custard-filled doughnuts topped with powdered sugar that are popular among Israeli, Polish and Shephardi Jews. Variations on the traditional recipe introduced new types of fillings, such as vanilla cream, chocolate cream, caramel and cappuccino. Low-calorie mini sufganiyot that contain half the calories of a regular one are also popular. Kugel is a baked noodle dish, while challah is a type of bread. Beef brisket is usually a braised pot roast dish that serves as the holiday main course in traditional Jewish cooking.

During Hannukah, Jews eat fried foods or foods baked in olive oil to celebrate how a small flask of oil, according to Jewish tradition, was only good for one day yet kept the flame at the Holy Temple alight for eight days. Jewish religious text documents a tradition of consuming dairy products during Hanukkah to commemorate Judith's heroism during the Babylonian captivity of the Jewish people.