Food, events and other ways to celebrate Hanukkah

Hanukkah is unusually early this year. It began at sundown on Sundayand concludes at sundown on Monday. As we approach the Festival of Lights, consider these options for a little spark in your holiday! 

To prepare for the culinary side of Hanukkah, there are a few absolute staples that must be mentioned. Traditional delicacies like oily latkes, powdery doughnuts and sweet challah bread are non-negotiable for any true Hanukkah celebration.

For some, the cooking and baking is in itself a huge part of the holiday and creates a fun, collaborative environment for all involved. For someone like me who loves to celebrate but doesn’t have much spare time to bring the party to life, one-stop shops like The Crown Market in West Hartford have been my go-to for years.

The Crown Market, “Connecticut’s kosher connection since 1940” has all the essentials, plus some fabulous extras to add a little pizzazz to any function! Between the deli counter, fresh-pizza station, in-house bakery and extensive selection of kosher grocery items, you’re bound to leave with all you came for and then some.

For an extra dash of festivity, check out J Bagels & Cafe in Trumbull, a family-run small business that has some special menu items planned for the holiday. The blue, yellow, and white bagels are a perfect way to start your morning!

If you’re willing to travel, By The Way Bakery in Greenwich is well worth the ride! This classic bakery offers goods from scratch that are gluten-free, dairy-free, certified kosher and delicious. 

While food is an integral part of the holiday, we can’t forget the true main event — the lighting of the candles! While many families will be looking to celebrate in their homes with loved ones once again this year, there are a few options across the state for those who want to try a different approach.

An event on Nov. 30 is hosted by the Chabad of Shelton and Monroe. The public candle lighting will be held on Shelton’s Huntington Green and will feature a photo booth, music, and refreshments. While there are many events like this across the state, most of them encourage you to RSVP, so make sure you choose one and notify the hosts as soon as possible.

However you choose to celebrate this year, remember the spark of joy that Hannukah inspires in so many. I’ve often heard, “A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle” this time of year. While respecting the religious aspect of the holiday, I always think of Hanukkah as “the light in dark times” celebration— a reflective, festive, and celebratory time to gather with loved ones and look forward to the light and warmth to come despite the crispy chill of New England as autumn comes to a close.

Francesca Fontánez is a Meriden-based journalist, educator, and creative. A graduate of both the University of New Haven and the University of Bridgeport, she is happy to be back in Meriden writing about the city she loves. When she's not helping out in the English department at Maloney High School, she's either exploring the Eastern seaboard for her lifestyle blog (@ eastsidevibes on Instagram) or working on music for her band, Cessa and The Zach. Email Francesca at with tips on what you want to read about next, or just to say hi!


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