French Hanukkah Vocabulary

La Fête de Hanoucca – Vocabulaire

French Hanukkah VocabularyHanukkah a Jewish holiday that occurs every year in or around December and runs for eight days. France has a significant Jewish but declining Jewish population and the holiday, thank G-d, is still widely celebrated among French Jews. Hanukkah falls from the 25 of Kislev to the 2nd of Tevet on the Jewish calendar. It is known as the Festival of Lights or “La fête des Lumières” in French.

The holiday commemorates the a miracle that occurred during the period of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. During that time, the Greek Army attacked and desecrated the Temple. After the attack, only a small amount of oil was found. While it was believed the oil would last for just one day, it lasted for eight days. Hence, a great miracle.

The holiday of Hanukkah runs for eight days and eight night. Traditions include lighting candles on a menorah and reciting specifically holiday blessings, the offering of presents, singing Hanukkah songs and dancing, spinning the dredel, and eating special holiday foods including latkes (potato pancakes) and sweet donuts.

There are two main greetings for Happy Hanukkah:

  • Joyeux Hanoucca ! (Literally Joyous Hanukkah!)
  • Chanukah sameach ! (Happy Hanukkah in Hebrew)

The vocabulary list below covers all the French Hanukkah vocabulary you’ll need to know to celebrate the holiday in France!

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Main words

  • la hanoukkia menorah
  • la mitsva religious commandment; a good deed
  • les huit jours de Hanoucca Eight days of Hanukkah
  • la toupie dreidle (spinning toy)
  • une bougie candle
  • une bénédiction blessing
  • les huit jours de Hanoucca the eight days of Hanukkah
  • un miracle miracle
  • le gelt Hanoucca Hanukkah gelt (chocolate coins)
  • juif, juive Jewish
  • une fête holiday
  • le coucher du soleil sunset
  • la sortie des étoiles When the stars come out
  • Ll’histoire de Hannouka Hanukkah story
  • l’armée grecque Greek Army
  • le deuxième Temple Second Temple
  • Le Temple de Jérusalem The Temple of Jerusalem

Traditional Hanukkah foods

  • une galette aux pommes de terre latke, potato pancake
  • un beignet hanukkah Sufganiyot
  • l’huile d’olive (f) olive oil
  • la crème aigre sour cream
  • la compote de pommes apple sauce
  • le fromage cheese
  • la poitrine de boeuf brisket
  • le kugel kugel

Hanukkah verbs

  • allumer les bougies to light candles
  • chanter les chansons to sing songs
  • offrir des cadeaux to give gifts
  • faire frire to fry
  • faire tourner une toupie to spin a top
  • chanter une chanson de Hanoucca to sing a Hanukkah song

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