Festival of Lights
The celebration of Hanukkah begins this year on the evening of December 6th. Hanukkah is celebrated mostly in the home, with families joined around the table to partake in the festivities. There may be party decorations to set the festive spirit, and the menorah is placed front and center at the table. Fried foods are eaten to commemorate the miracle of a day’s worth of oil lighting the temple for a full eight days. Parents prepare potato latkes or serve up jelly doughnuts for dessert. Everyone gathers around the menorah to light the Hanukkah candles, first one, then two, until all eight are lit on the eighth night of the Hanukkah celebration. Most families distribute small gifts to the children, one each night for each of the eight nights. Hanukkah gelt in the form of chocolate coins are a favorite treat that also sometimes are used as the ante for a game of dreidel. Songs are sung, and simple merriment is the spirit of the evening. Children look forward to the candle lighting, exchanging gifts, and eating the satisfying foods associated with the holiday. But in today’s busy, ever-changing world, families cannot always gather at the same table to celebrate the lighting of the candles. Some may choose one of the days of Hanukkah as the day for celebration. Or, as I heard two young adult sisters discussing, set a date for face time or skype to share their Hanukkah. However you celebrate, whether you enjoy potato latkes or jelly doughnuts, whether you light candles and dispense gifts each night or have one day to celebrate the entire festival, may your Hanukkah be a joyous celebration and commemoration of a miracle that happened many centuries ago.