We do not celebrate Christmas
Christmas is coming
There is Christmas decoration everywhere.
As I wrote before, my husband is Jewish.
Christmas is the ceremony to celebrate Jesus was born.
Jewish people do not celebrate Christmas because it is all about the birth of Jesus and
Christmas is for Christians.
We do not have any tradition to decorate a Christmas tree or eat a Christmas meal on December
24th or 25th.
So our house is a little bit dreary
Every year my husband says, “If you want to decorate for Christmas, it is OK, you can do it yourself.“
However, I am thinking “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” and just follow to my husband’s culture.
So I do not decorate for Christmas every year.
Jewish people are not devout Jews, but they still celebrate some religious holidays.
One of them is called “Hanukkah” and it does not mean the same thing as of Christmas.
It is not popular for Japanese.
By coincidence, it usually occurs about the same time of year as Christmas.
After Thanksgiving in November, American Jewish people start to prepare for Hanukkah.
What is “Hanukkah”?
Hanukkah is a Hebrew word and it means “Dedication”.
Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December.
The Hebrew or Jewish calendar is based on the moon.
Months are exactly 28 days.
So each year has either 12 or 13 months, depending on how the cycle needs to be synchronized with
the solar year.
So this causes Hanukkah to occur at different times in every year of the Gregorian (popular) calendar.
Around 200 B.C., the Holy Land, land of Israel, was ruled by the Syrian-Greeks.
The Jewish people were oppressed by Syrian-Greeks and also Judaism was prohibited.
Finally, the Jewish people rose in revolt against Syrian-Greeks.
They then recaptured the Land of Israel and the Holy Temple as well in 165 B.C.
Almost all of the barrels of olive oil which use for lighting the Holy Temple Menorah (the seven-branched candelabrum) were crushed by Syrian-Greeks.
However, Jewish soldiers found just one barrel which was enough for just one day.
They lit the menorah and the oil lasted for eight days, which was until new oil could be prepared
under conditions of ritual purity.
Jewish people were happy that this is a great miracle.
Then they started to celebrate this happy miracle to never forget.
This is the history of “Hanukkah”.
Jewish people light candles with candelabrum called a “Hanukiah” which has nine branches.
For these “Hanukkah” is called “The festival of lights” as well.
What kind of food is served at Hanukkah?
Well, there are some traditional foods just served at Hanukkah.
The most popular food is fried mixed potatoes and onions called “Latkes”
It is similar to Japanese pancake called “Okonomiyaki”
As I wrote about the history of Hanukkah, lighting the eight candles in the menorah commemorates
the miracle of light.
So oil is a key element in the Hanukkah celebration and plays a large role in cooking traditional foods.
The Latke recipe is mostly shredded potatoes mixed with onions, eggs, flour, and seasonings.
Then they are formed into a small shape and fried in oil.
Crispy latkes are served with sour cream and applesauce on the side.
The next traditional food is roast chicken and a green salad.
For dessert, we ate a chocolate bite-sized pastry called Rugelach.
Every year we buy Rugelach at Lenny’s Deli which is closed to our house.
I compared these to Rugelach from other bakeries.
But Lenny’s is the best, I think.
Not sweet and tasty
They have many flavors such as apple, raspberry, raisin, chocolate and so on.
Lenny’s Deli is an old delicatessen which is very popular in LA.
Also, they have a restaurant as well so you can eat inside.
About Lenny’s Deli ↓ ↓ ↓
After the meal . . .
After the meal, there is a surprise event waiting for kids. (Almost kids are more than 16 )
Adults gave some gifts to kids.
Christmas is the day to exchange gifts with family, friends.
Historically, Jewish people do not celebrate for Christmas.
But during the last century, children of Jewish families complained to their parents or Rabbi,
because their Christian friends were getting gifts.
So, over many years the Jewish tradition because closer to the Christian practices in America.
So now, Jewish families exchange gifts on Hanukkah, but not on Christmas.
It is interesting for me that religion has to change depending on the times
My husband does not like to go shopping so he gives cash to them. Haha
He remembers that, as a child, the best gift was cash money, which was usually better
than clothes or even toys.
A little something extra . . .
It is not related to Hanukkah, I want to introduce some great decorations for Christmas in
this West Los Angeles neighborhood.
I can find some cars which decorated like this.
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