Happy very belated Hanukkah everyone! This year, this holiday fell during the exact week between Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. I hope everyone had a very merry and very bright eight days in December, like I did.
Hanukkah is legit my favorite Jewish holiday. It's low-key and super-fun. As you can see at this holiday gathering, there was fried food, well just loads of food in general, a reunion of old college friends, drinks, and bright lights. What more could a girl ask for?
A quick Hanukkah 101:
What's up with the lights on that candelabra thing?
Way back in the day (try 166 B.C.,) a heroic Jewish figure, Judah Maccabee with a small army drove out the Greeks in what was ancient Jerusalem. They did this because they weren't allowed to practice their religion, their Temple had been desecrated by their enemies, and many lives were lost. In the rededication of that temple, a miracle occurred. Judah asked his followers to lit the candelabra (or known in Judaism as the menorah,) which they could only find enough oil for one night. This oil flickered for 8 nights. To honor this moment in Jewish history, Jews today light menorahs in their homes as a reminder of the "miracle" that happened so long ago.
Why fried food?
Since the miracle of Hanukkah involved oil, we symbolize the oil and honor that marvel through fried food. Latkahs, or fried potato pancakes, come from Eastern European tradition, while sufganyot, or the fried doughnuts, come from an Middle-Eastern/Israeli tradition. Either way, it makes this holiday seriously delicious.
What's up with the coins and the tops?
A lot of people don't realize the game of dreidel (or the spinning tops) was actually a distraction done by the Jews because their religion was outlawed under Greek rule. They would read their sacred texts in secret and bust out dreidels to make it seem like they were playing games and not practicing their religion. The coins were apart of the rules of dreidel, where you win money when you play.
Thank you to my dear friend, @elanakobe for capturing the light in all these photos!