This tradition is decidedly European in origin, probably dating from the late 18th and early 19th century, when Jews figured prominently in chocolate manufacturing. Biting into the History of Hanukkah Gelt · Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights, is right around the corner and families are getting ready to light. What Is Hanukkah Gelt? Hanukkah gelt, like Hanukkah itself, has a long, rich history and is strongly tied to Judaism. The word "gelt" is a Yiddish. In time, as children demanded their due, money was also given to children to keep for themselves. One thing that every Hanukkah celebration has in common is the gelt. Cryptocurrency money History: Chocolate Gelt Coins Author: Melanie has been interested in cultures, languages, and travel since her youth. During Hanukkah, Jewish families give their children gelt or gelt-shaped chocolates. It's not soft and buttery — it's chocolate coins hanukkah history. The custom had chocolate coins hanukkah history origin in the 17th-century practice of Polish Jewry to give money to their small children for distribution to their teachers.