When it comes to Hanukkah, there are a few traditions that go hand in hand with celebrating the Jewish holiday. The lighting of the Menorah, spinning tops and golden coins are just a few of the traditions and customs associated with Hanukkah, however latkes are said to be one of the most tasty traditional dishes of the holiday—and rightfully so. Latkes are deep fried potatoes that are often compared to pancakes. During Hanukkah latkes are sometimes topped with various items including sugar, fruit and even vegetables in some cases.
So why are latkes and other deep fried food items such a popular part of the Hanukkah tradition? One word: Oil. As you probably know, Hanukkah, or the Festival of Lights as it is often referred to as, is the celebration of freedom of the Jewish community from Greek rule, which was achieved hundreds and hundreds of years ago. Right after the battle in which the Jewish overcame the Greeks, the soldiers came across a Menorah within a temple.
They went to light the Menorah knowing that they only had enough oil to keep it lit for one night, but to their surprise, the Menorah stayed lit for eight consecutive days—hence the tradition of lighting the Menorah on the eighth day of Hanukkah. The Jewish community was astonished by the fact that the oil lasted for so long and credited it to divine intervention. This is why latkes, and other foods deep fried in oil, became such a part of the Hanukkah tradition. We scoured the internet for three of our favorite latke recipes. Check them out: