8 Fun Facts of Hanukkah: The Giving of Gifts
Gift giving has not always been a tradition of Hanukkah. It is a relatively new concept that has grown from Jewish families having a lot of contact with people who celebrate Christmas, not to mention the proximity of the two holidays.
The traditional gift was "gelt," which was a reward for children learning the Torah well. To earn a coin, children were and are often tested on their knowledge of the Hanukkah story. The coin also symbolizes the freedom of the Jews from the Syrian-Greek rule -- when they won the right to mint their own currency.
Finally, the tradition of gelt- and gift-giving is no longer just for children. Adults now participate in it because it brings Jewish families and people closer together.
For more Hanukkah related articles, check out 8 Fun Facts of Hanukkah: The Menorah and The Menorah: Fun Facts and Wacky Photos.
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