The Postal Service will honor the Jewish Festival of Lights with the release of a new Hanukkah stamp on Oct. 6.
The stamp honors the family-centered celebration that includes the ceremonial lighting of the hanukiah, the nine-branched menorah used during the holiday.
The stamp illustrates the hanukiah’s lighting on the last evening of the holiday. All eight candles have been lit, and a child reaches up to replace the shamash, the helper candle used to light the others.
Ethel Kessler served as the stamp’s art director, while artist Jing Jing Tsong created the design.
Tsong intentionally chose the stamp’s colors and illustration to evoke Hanukkah traditions as seen through the eyes of children. The darker blue colors in the stamp’s backdrop symbolize the winter season, while the brightly colored flaming candles reflect the spirit and warmth of sharing the holiday traditions.
The story of Hanukkah — “dedication” in Hebrew — tells of reclaiming the Temple in Jerusalem, which had been desecrated by a conquering army. Worshippers prepared to rededicate the holy space but discovered only one small jar of consecrated oil, enough to last one day. Rather than wait for more oil to arrive, they lit the Temple menorah, which burned for eight days.
Hannukah celebrates this miracle of the oil. In addition to lighting the menorah, celebrants recite blessings each night and might play games, host a sing-along of favorite Hanukkah tunes or prepare and eat fried foods.
This year, Hanukkah begins Dec. 10.
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