Hanukkah. The Festival of Lights. The “Jewish Christmas.” The holiday that Adam Sandler composed a song about.To Jewish people, however, Hanukkah isn’t really all that spiritual of a holiday – because of its proximity to Christmas, it’s often assumed the most important Jewish holiday.
It’s not. Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Passover, for example, are more religiously observed, though Hanukkah definitely holds cultural significance.As a young child, Hanukkah meant I could get presents like my predominantly-Christian classmates and never feel left out. In addition, it meant nodding politely (and doing so) when somebody said”Merry Christmas” come mid-to-late December, and trying to remember to mention it back.
This year my loved ones and I’m figuring out how to observe it during the coronavirus pandemic. Hint: We are doing a household Zoom.Therefore, if Hanukkah isn’t all that spiritual, what is all of the fuss about?Disclaimer: Like any minority, I am but one of several members, and my experiences don’t reflect that of all Jews.
Hanukkah 2020: When Does it Start ?All You Need To Know About Hanukkah
Just what is Hanukkah ? The episode happened when Jews rose up against Greek-Syrian rulers at the Maccabean Revolt and drove them out of Jerusalem, according to the History Channel.To indicate their victory, Jews wanted to recover the temple and mild its menorah, but just discovered enough pure olive oil for a single day, according to Chabad.org.
That one-day supply lasted eight and is regarded as a miracle in Jewish religion. It lasts eight nights (yes, because of the petroleum ), and this season it’s from Dec. 10 to 18.Get the Coronavirus Watch newsletter into your inbox. Stay secure and informed with updates on the spread of the coronavirusCool project:Storytellers to share joys, disappointments of holidaysHold up. Did the oil actually last 8 days?No. Well, possibly. I was sure it was true until my seventh grade Hebrew school class when someone explained it was not.The narrative of the oil lasting eight times goes back to ancient rabbis, who appeared to have made up the story whilst chatting about light candles throughout the holiday, reports The Washington Post.
Some staunchly believe the oil narrative, though others are more inclined to focus on the messages/lessons the vacation teaches.Additionally, back up.
Is it Hanukkah or Chanukah? Both are right. Actually, there are lots of variations of how to spell the holiday’s title in English, according to the Oxford Dictionaries and Merriam-Webster.The differences occur because the holiday’s name comes from Hebrew, which does not use the Latin alphabet. In accordance with Merriam-Webster, a few sounds in Hebrew don’t have exact matches for Latin American letters, creating the multiple spellings.
Now the most common grammar is Hanukkah, however do not be surprised if you also see Chanukah or Hanukah, based on the two dictionaries.
Is it Hanukkah or Chanukah?
Why the Jewish holiday has multiple spellingsWhat occurs during Hanukkah? The lit menorahs are displayed prominently, often in windows. Playing tops known as dreidels and exchanging gifts are additional Hanukkah traditions to celebrate the holidayseason. Do not forget about gelt, chocolate coins adults give to kids during Hanukkah (a sign of the cash that Jewish parents would offer their kids instead of gifts;”gelt” means cash in Yiddish).Larger family parties throughout the pandemic are likely not happening this year (and are not recommended), meaning it’ll be up to individual families to figure out in-house present exchanges and dreidel spinning. I know I am hoping for gelt from the email this year.
Hanukkah is not as big a deal as Christmas?
No, not in the traditional religious sense. In reality, if you Google”Hanukkah not big deal,” you’ll get an array of articles that may tell you as much. Nevertheless, it’s still meaningful for different explanations. As soon as I asked fellow Jews what makes Hanukkah particular in my Twitter feed this past year, my followers talked about”latkes,” the potato pancakes typically absorbed on the holidayseason. (Individuals eat doughnuts filled with jelly, or sufganiyot, also. Get it? Fried food.)As with other Jewish holidays, haunting Hebrew hymns are a part of this event. “Rugrats,” that the Nickelodeon animation, aired a Hanukkah-themed episode in 1996 that holds up as educational, endearing and entertaining.And who can forget about the gifts? Growing up it was interesting to look forward to a different gift nightly — some less costly like pajamas and art provides. The best (and likely worst year, for the adults in my loved ones, anyway) was when my grandparents purchased every one of those dozen or so grandchildren Razor scooters.
As I got older, the convention shifted into one large present for the period, though we always still light the candles.I’m looking forward to seeing many distinct collections of candles on Zoom.OK, but why do people really make a fuss about Hanukkah?You can thank (or not thank) American Jews for that. It is debatable whether it was an immediate reaction to Christmas or even an effort to encourage young people to create time to get synagoguereports Vox. For comparison’s sake: This is the exact same bible that included my Torah portion, Bamidbar, which was literally only about ripping tribes round a sacred tabernacle.Like many Jewish teachings,”it underscores one of the most significant themes in Jewish history: the struggle to practice Judaism when powerful forces seek to extinguish it,” writes Lauren Markoe of the Religion News Service.
Also: It serves a particular purpose: an opportunity to negotiate the twin, competing pressures of cultural tension and assimilation, writes Emma Green in The Atlantic (i.e. we’re Maccabees, hear us roar).Anti-Semitism has remained more than widespread, whether it be from star messaging, physical violence and much more. The country’s only Anne Frank tradition in Idaho was vandalized only this week. Consider the shooting in the kosher grocery store in 2019 at New Jersey into the Tree of Life shooting in Pittsburgh in 2018. President Donald Trump signed an executive order last December made to cut off support to colleges that tolerate anti-Semitism, though some critics called it an effort to stifle free speech and criticism of Israel.I am not a very religious person, however after re-educating myself regarding the vacation when researching this article, I’ll be proud to light the candles to remind myself about the very significant part the holiday to me: battling for the right to exist.