Well, I’ve been meaning to do a Hanukkah post, but with getting ready for my sale this weekend, and Rich being sick I’m actually surprised that I’m getting to it before Hanukkah is over! So Hey Everyone Happy Hanukkah! Woo Hoo!
Personally this has always been one of my favorite holidays. The story is great, you know the classic story of Rome taking over another land, killing the people, kicking out there gods and generally being A**hats; but then amazingly the underdogs, the Israelites, who are being defended by the Maccabees, manage to kick out the Romans, and take back their city. Of corse the actual miracle comes later, when they get back to the temple; find idols everywhere, and only enough oil for the Eternal Light to last one day. Evidently it takes eight to produce. Miraculously the oil burnt for all eight days, but I was always a bit more impressed with the fact the the Maccabees were able to drive out the Romans, then with the oil lasting a week. They must have been some pretty bad ass dudes.
That’s how I saw Hanukkah as a kid, and thought that it should be celebrated with proper enthusiasm, but growing up in the late ’80s and early ’90’s there wasn’t really anything in stores for Hanukkah. We would go to the mall, and see amazing Christmas displays full of light and color, yet all we had was a lone Menorah, a few felt decorations that my mother made, and oh yea some “chains” made of tin foil. That we actually made in Hebrew School. And when my Irish Catholic neighbors started asking things like “Since Hanukkah is called the Holiday of Lights why don’t you put any out?” I started thinking, and asking my Grandmother. Her reasoning was simple. Where her parents were from in Europe you advertised that you weren’t Christian; it was liable to get you killed. We had been having to hide for so long that our traditions became sheltered, quiet, and of corse hidden.
I’m sure it’s the American cockiness in me that has felt the need to absolutely do the opposite of these hidden quite traditions. In the last few years I’ve been happy to see Hanukkah merchandise available in stores; and have reveled in events like the candle lightings that takes place all over our country. I guess when it all comes down to it, just like the ancient Israelites; I refuse to live in fear of someone who hates me simply because of my religion, and I will not shape my life around there threats. And if my rebellion takes place by putting lights all over my house, and decorating with Hanukkah ornaments; so much the better since I really don’t want to go up against a Roman legionnaire.