4 Oct 2023
Updated for 2023!
Hanukkah this year begins at nightfall on December 7, and ends with nightfall on December 15, 2023. The celebration of this holiday is an important time for members of the Jewish community and commemorates the miracles that took place during the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in the second century BCE.
The festival is often referred to as the winter “festival of lights,” according to Chabad.org. It is best known for the nightly lighting of the Hanukkah menorah (a candelabra with 9 candles), special prayers, and a variety of delicious fried foods like latkes and sufganiyot.
And while many people celebrate this beautiful and important holiday in the privacy of their own homes, celebrating Hanukkah on the Outer Banks can also be a beautiful and memorable time for your family. Here are some of our favorite tips and resources for celebrating the Festival of Lights on the Outer Banks with your family this year.
Attend a Service in Person or Online
If you’re staying on the Outer Banks during Hanukkah this year, or any time of the year, for that matter, consider attending service with the Jewish Community of the Outer Banks. This community, while small, is dedicated to the Jewish faith and has been meeting on the Outer Banks since 2004. Services are held either on the third Friday or Saturday of each month and for every major holiday. For Hanukkah this year, consider attending the in-person service on December 7th at 10 AM (which includes the light of the 1st Hanukkah candle) or a Zoom service on Saturday at 7:30 PM. In-person services are held at the UUCOB Meeting House on Herbert Perry Road. Visit www.jcobx.com for more information.
Get Creative With Your Menorah
Even if you’re not going to be at home or your home synagogue for Hanukkah this year, you can still celebrate the lighting of the candles from the comfort of your beach vacation rental! Consider investing in a travel menorah kit like this colorful magnetic set that is great for the kids or this beautiful blue and silver miniature set that comes with 44 candles. Chabad.org also has additional suggestions if you’re looking for the perfect travel set. Create fun and reverent memories for your whole family by incorporating the beach into your celebration. Maybe light the candles in a bucket of sand or decorate with shells for a Hanukkah your family will never forget.
Get Local With Your Sufganiyot
Traditional sufganiyot are round donuts deep-fried in oil, filled with jelly, and then topped with powdered sugar. Hunt out your favorite nearby donut shop during your stay and enjoy a yummy fried jelly donut to commemorate the miracle of the oil. Check out Duck Donuts, Proof Bakery, or Donutz On a Stick for your celebration. Or get adventurous and fry up some latkes or make your own sufganiyot in the kitchen at your vacation rental!
Gift Experiences Throughout the Week
If giving gifts is part of your family’s Hanukkah celebration, consider gifting experiences or small, meaningful souvenirs during your stay. Take a trip to the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island or spend the day running around and enjoying the beauty of Jockey’s Ridge State Park. Think about gift certificates for hang gliding lessons or kiteboarding adventures with Kitty Hawks for your thrill-seeking family members or simply find fun things to do together on vacation, like looking for ghost crabs or watching the sunrise over the ocean as a family.
What is Hanukkah?
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We’ll see you at the beach.
Wherever you choose to celebrate this year,
we wish you a Happy Hanukkah!
About the Author: Lauren is an Outer Banks local, mom, trained historian, and travel enthusiast. When she isn’t writing for the Seaside Vacations Travel Blog, Lauren can usually be found with her nose in a book or cuddling with her cats.