NEWINGTON — Silver and gold chocolate coins rained down from the top of a fire truck ladder Sunday, to the delight of the many children gathered to celebrate the start of Hanukkah.
Chanukah at the Mall was hosted by the UNH & Seacoast Chabad Jewish Center of Durham.
"We are thrilled to be back this year," said Rabbi Berel Slavaticki, noting the event was held in 2019 but canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. "I welcome every single person here today."
The coins are called gelt, the Hebrew word for money, and a traditional part of the giving of gifts for the eight days of Hanukkah. Dreidel games and other crafts were also part of the event. A menorah was lighted for the first night of Hanukkah's eight nights and will remain on display at the mall.
Known as the “festival of lights,” Hanukkah is celebrated with a nightly menorah lighting, special prayers and fried food such as latke (potatoes). This year, Hanukkah began Nov. 28 and runs through Dec. 6.
"Not so long ago, we had to hide to light the menorah," Slavaticki said. "Today, we celebrate our traditions proudly here on the Seacoast."
It was a day of celebration for everyone, but particularly for children. Treats, games and crafts were set up in the mall for them to enjoy
"We are all the light," Slavaticki said. "We all have the ability to light someone else, to do our part. Every day, we light one another."
Members of the Newington Fire Department said they enjoyed coming out to drop chocolate coins for the kids.
"It's nice," said Lt. Brandon Lisowski. "We did it a couple of years ago, so it was good to be able to do it again this year."
This article originally appeared on Fosters Daily Democrat: Gelt drop from 75-foot crane starts Hanukkah event at Mall at Fox Run