THERE ARE OTHER RELIGIOUS FESTIVALS IN DECEMBER. IT IS NOT JUST CHRISTMAS.
We look briefly and with the help of other at hanukkah. The source of our story is a Queensland report about a menorah set up in a city square in Brisbane this year. The reporter interviewed Jason Steinberg, the president of the Queensland Jewish Board of Deputies.
Hanukkah is not the biggest Jewish festival. It’s the best known due to its timing around Christmas, [but] certainly it’s not the most important as that is usually the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur.
Hanukkah is about the Festival of Lights and it runs for eight nights and symbolises the triumph over light and darkness and the resilience of the Jewish people.[In] most Jewish homes around the world and in some public places the candles are lit at sundown each night for the next eight nights.
The menorah has nine holders for candles — eight for each night of the festival and one in the middle which is used to light the other candles. As well as light, food is a big part of the Jewish tradition. Fried food is an important way of marking this celebration – potato pancakes called latkes and donuts and things like that that cumulate with oil. There’s also Hanukkah gelt – chocolate money. There’s also a game with a spinning top called a dreidel which children play with to win little prizes, usually around chocolate and treats.
Hanukkah plays a bigger role in American culture than it does in Australia. Anyone that goes to America this time of year and walks into a supermarket, they will see Happy holidays, Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah; it’s very much part of the culture in America.
Here are some ephemeral items associated with hanukkah. Anyone with a collection of this kind would be very welcome to provide us with a better post about Judaism.