Hanukkah in London

  • UPDATED Sep 05, 2018
Image Source: wikipedia.org

Chanukah in the square

A giant menorah is placed at Trafalgar Square, next to the Christmas tree, and 1 candle is lit on each day of the festival. There are nine candles in all. On the evening before the first day of Chanukah, the first candle is lit accompanied by songs and prayer. The remaining 7 are lit, one on each day, so that all candles are burning on the last day of Hanukkah. The middle candle, shamash, is kept lit and used to light the other candles. Last year, the mayor performed the lighting ceremony. You can go there for free doughnuts, musical performances and the general festive ambience and celeb spotting.

1. Candle lighting at the Jewish Museum

The Jewish Museum in Camden Town offers a ‘Designs on Britain’ exhibition through which one can learn how Jewish immigrants created iconic tube posters and classic British games. You can also eat free doughnuts while lighting the menorah. There is nothing that makes one get into the spirit of Hanukkah like the lighting of candles.

2. Islington menorah Lighting

Hear the London Klezmer Quartet play on the Islington green here. If you want an exposure to Jewish foods, you can also munch on latkes from kosher caterer 1701 Kitchen. You can also donate to charity by walking on hot coals, if you are brave enough.

3. Traditional Hanukkah doughnuts

A variety of foods make up the traditional Hanukkah feasts. These include latkes or potato cakes, doughnuts fried in oil as well as a large range of dairy products.

4. Carmelli Bakery 

Carmelli has been around for three decades, serving traditional Jewish food, old favorites and innovative delights on the same. They continue to use traditional methods, still baking bagels by hand and giving each one individual attention to ensure each one is perfectly bronzed and delicious.

5. J Grodzinski& Daughters

One of the oldest Jewish bakeries in London, it is also the largest Kosher bakery in Europe with six branches.  They prepare both breads and pastries and are also distributed to retail chains like Selfridges, Marks &Spencers and Harrods. The taste is both authentic and mouth watering.

6. Ben’s Canteen

Ben’s is an informal neighborhood hangout spot. It serves great America-inspired food, from pancakes to burritos. Their mini-doughnuts are the most popular. Called doctor’s DIY doughnuts, they are accompanied with syringes filled with doses of the good stuff like chocolate, strawberry jam, maple and vanilla custard. These can be injected into the doughnut for a scrumptious filling.

7. Chanukkah on ice

JW3 offers a Jewish cultural center which includes a Chanukah on ice silent disco with DJs, doughnuts and wine. If you are a fan of the ice, rediscover it here with a Jewish twist! They also organize a host of family events which involve candle lighting each night of the festival.

8. Bromley Reform Synagogue

The Synagogue hosts a first night party for families which includes musical entertainment and video projections. A mountain of festive foods is made available for the congregation to partake and the communal candle lighting ceremony is conducted.

Every night of the festival sees much pomp, especially around the candle lighting ceremony. You can join in for some authentic Jewish Cultural vibes and festival ambience.

A Chanukkah fair is also held by the Synagogue on the Sunday so families, especially children, can come out and enjoy the booths of games and foods and rides.