If you have seen me during Chanukah, then you probably know that I get pretty excited about the holiday. Let me tell you why.
The music. There is a wide variety of Chanukah music. I think it is the only Jewish holiday that has enough music to fill a playlist. Some great ones are “the small jug”, “we came to dispel darkness”, and “O mighty stronghold of my salvation” (the English translations of the titles really do them no justice). My wife knows that Chanukah is coming when I start playing my Chanukah iTunes playlist on repeat.
The parties. There are always great parties to attend during Chanukah. This year I am going to a total of four. Something about Chanukah makes people want to get together and have fun.
Side story: When I was a freshman in high school, my cousin (Jack) and I threw a Y2K party. We even had a cake in the shape of the numbers 2000. We invited 40 people. No one came. I think I have PTSD from that experience. I started getting really nervous right before people were supposed to show up to the Chanukah party Lorraine and I threw last year.
The food. Chanukah is a time for some fried goodness. Latkes, Souvganiot, and Sfenj are part of the Chanukah that I have come to know and love. Two years ago Chanukah landed on Thanksgiving: Chanukah + Thanksgiving = pumpkin doughnuts. Yummy.
The story of Chanukah is my favorite part*. It goes as follows: the Greeks were restricting the practice of Judaism in Israel. A group of Jews rose up against the Greeks to regain their religious freedom, fighting for almost 3 years. Once the Jews gained control and were able to rededicate the Jewish Temple, they lit the ceremonial Menorah and the oil kept the fire going for eight days. Hence the eight days of Chanukah, and all the fried food (shout out to the oil).
I love that we are celebrating the fight. The gumption to know that a situation is not right and to take it into our own hands to rectify. It inspires me to stand up for the small things that I know to be right in my life.
In summary, Chanukah is awesome. Regardless of faith, I think we could all use a little more good music, parties, food and a strong message. Happy Holidays!