November was a very full month for me. I had a couple of hiccups in the plan and missed two days, but I think I managed to be thankful, technically, for every day in the month. That was the goal. To me, it’s actually important to be thankful every day but spending at least one full month is a good start and certainly makes you appreciate the little things that are so easy to forget. It was at times tough to always get something written every day but that too was a task worth accomplishing. I do want to take a quick second for all those who have read and been visiting my blog or even becoming a follower. Thank you so much! November turned into a record month for me thus far and that excites me. I’m not sure I can keep that up or not. We shall find out I guess.
Now it’s onto December. Okay so I was trying to find a decent title for this month’s theme and I decided on “Merry December”… probably a bit too cheery but that’s what I could come up with for now. I reserve the right to change it if need be. I chose that one because well, there’s a lot of holidays in December. It’s always “merry” or “happy” this or that all month long. There’s nothing wrong with that. It makes things interesting.
December also ends up being a time for reflection on what’s happened through the year. There’s all the countdowns and of course resolutions are made to help make the next year even better. There’s apparently a lot that’s happened in December also; lots of things to remember and honor this month. Again, I suppose that’ fitting given it’s the end of the year.
So apparently, Hanukkah began the evening of Nov. 27. Before now, I hadn’t realized it could be that early. From what I read, it can land anywhere from late-November until late-December. This would explain a lot to me. I figure this is a great way to kick off December. The holiday changes because it’s based on the Hebrew calendar, which is a lunisolar calendar.
I want to apologize in advance if I get anything wrong. No harm is intended as in actuality, it’s my goal to show the utmost respect to any religious holidays this month. Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights and Feast of Dedication, is an eight-day Jewish holiday. The significance of the holiday is the Maccabees successfully rebelling against Antiochus IV Epiphanes, two sects of Jews if I understand correctly. The eight days/nights of lighting of the Menorah is symbolic of the eight days/nights rededicating the temple. Miraculously, according to the Talmud, the wicks of the Menorah burned for eight days despite having only enough oil for one day’s lighting. At least, this is how I understand the story to go, but please forgive me if I’ve oversimplified it or misunderstood something.
From what I know, there is a lot tradition involved and personally, I like that. Because of that, there can be variations in how the holiday is celebrated, at least in the details. The overall concept of course remains the same and the idea is to always keep faithful to the religion. It also seems very ceremonial to me and I like that too. There’s all the blessings and symbolism. Overall, it just seems like a beautiful holiday.
As with many holidays, there are traditional songs and food. There is a custom of eating fried or baked foods in oil, commemorating the miracle of a small flask of oil keeping the flame in the Temple lit for eight days. There are foods such as potato pancakes and sufganiyot, which are deep-fried in oil. It just sounds like a wonderful way to commemorate a special event in Jewish history/culture.
The one thing that I have really enjoyed about blogging and doing these themes is the opportunity it gives me to self-educate. Okay, so I don’t know all the details of Hanukkah and I have a lot on my plate these days so I don’t have a lot of time to do in-depth research, but I love to learn. I like having a better understanding of the world around me and hopefully, taking a moment to learn a little bit more of other holidays will be a wonderful, “merry” education. Here’s to looking forward to what else December has in store.