Christmas is for Everyone.
“In the old days, it was not called Holiday Season; the Christians called “Christmas” and went to church ; the Jews called it “Hanukkah” and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing on the street would say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukkah” or (to the atheists) “Look out for the wall!” – Dave Barry
South Florida is the melting pot of different tradition and culture. This is one thing that makes it exciting. One gets to experience the observance of various festivals, holidays, tradition and culture based on religion and race. The Jewish community is among the highest population in South Florida. South Florida has the 2nd highest population of the Jewish community in America wherein Jewish tradition is religiously observed and celebrated. One the of the most celebrated holidays of the Jew is the Hanukkah, a commemoration of religious freedom from the Greek. If Christian, have Christmas then Jews have Hanukkah.
The Jews however are celebrating their 8-day holiday earlier and this year on a special day. What makes this year’s Hanukkah special? Hanukkah and Thanksgiving – a rare overlapping of holiday is happening this year and its not going to happen until the next 70,000 years. The Jews are following the Jewish calendar. Similarly, Hanukkah and Thanksgiving are specials holidays celebrated in commemoration of freedom,joy and gratitude. Hanukkah is celebrated for religious freedom while the Thanksgiving is celebrated American freedom. In line with the special Hanukkah, families get a nine year old came up with a “menurky” – a menorah shaped like a turkey, especially for this celebration. Many Jewish families in South Florida are combining both festivities and enjoying a family get together for the special day which they usually celebrate it separately. This is a chance to get more creative incorporation of tradition. (How is this years Hanukkah special? See Video)
The celebration of Hanukkah is the Jews’ counterpart of Christmas which is now generally called the Holiday Season. They also follow certain traditions in celebration of the special Holiday. The Christians go to church followed by a family dinner on the eve of December 25, exchange gifts, Christmas countdown and fireworks at 12AM. The Jews however celebrates their 8-day holiday season following the Jewish calendar and the celebration starts on the 25th of Jewish month Kislev which is usually coincides with late November to late December. Similarly, Jewish kids also receive gifts on that special holiday. Hanukkah may have different tradition depending on the community, they practice a universal tradition. Lighting the hanukkiya or a menorah commemorates the miracle of the Hanukkah oil. Spinning the dreidel is a popular Jewish game with gelts, tinfoil covered chocolates, are part of the game. Eating fried foods is a universal tradition which marks the celebration of the miracle oil. Latkes (potato pancake) and sufganiyot (fried, jelly-filled doughnut) are special foods on the Jewish feast.
People may have distinct traditions, race, religion, and belief but we are all connected and united in celebration of new life, joys, faith and gratitude. The Holiday Season is one of the merriest season of the year because it is a reminder of unity and hope as one people. Happy Holidays everyone!