What Hanukka is really about

Here’s Why Hanukkah Is NOT The Jewish Christmas

The Festival of Lights is still great, but it is definitely not the Jewish equivalent to Christmas.

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As you may or may not know, the Jewish holiday Hanukkah began on December 1, commemorating the Maccabean victory that occurred thousands of years ago. The so-called "Festival of Lights" is associated with eating latkes and jelly donuts, spinning dreidels, lighting candles, and......eight days of gifts!

Despite the long-standing tradition of gift-giving on Hanukkah, there really is no reason to give eight days worth of gifts. In fact, giving gifts is a custom specific to certain countries, countries where Christmas is celebrated, as well. Hanukkah gift-giving isn't even a thing in Israel, the home of the Jews.

So, where did this tradition start? Well, it basically started to make Hanukkah a competitor to Christmas so that stores could sell more and little Jewish kids could stop feeling sad that they didn't celebrate Christmas. In elementary school when all my friends bragged about what they were getting for Christmas, I could snap back and tell them that I was getting eight times whatever they were getting — and I'm not going to lie, it felt great to rub it in their faces.

But eventually, my parents broke the truth to me, and I stopped getting Hanukkah gifts. Period. Tragic, I know. Most of my Jewish friends still get their eight days of gifts, and there is nothing wrong with that. At this point, it's a part of the holiday (especially in the United States) and it would almost be like breaking tradition if they were to stop the fun. However, I can now celebrate ~Hanukkah~ for what it really is: a holiday that serves as an excuse to see family, light candles, and feel proud to be Jewish. Although the holiday wouldn't nearly be as big of a deal if it weren't for Christmas being around the same time of year, it is definitely NOT the Jewish equivalent to Christmas.

PS - sorry if the spiel is a little bit of a disappointment, but I had to put it out there.

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A Letter To My Freshman Dorm Room As I Pack Up My Things

Somehow a 15' x 12' room became a home.

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Dear Geary 411,

With your creaky beds, concrete walls, and mismatched tile floors, you are easily overlooked as just another room we were randomly assigned to— but you were different. Inside your old walls, I have made some of the best memories of my life that I will hold on to forever.

Thank you for welcoming my neighbors in with open arms who quickly became friends who didn't knock and walked in like you were their own.

I feel like an apology is needed.

We're sorry for blaring the music so loud while getting ready and acting like we can actually sing when, in reality, we know we can't. Sorry for the dance parties that got a bit out of control and ended with us standing on the desks. Sorry for the cases of the late-night giggles that came out of nowhere and just would not go away. Sorry for the homesick cries and the "I failed my test" cries and the "I'm dropping out" cries. We're sorry for hating you at first. All we saw was a tiny and insanely hot room, we had no idea what you would bring to us.

Thank you for providing me with memories of my first college friends and college experiences.

As I stand at the door looking at the bare room that I first walked into nine months ago I see so much more than just a room. I see lots and lots of dinners being eaten at the desks filled with stories of our days. I see three girls sitting on the floor laughing at God knows what. I see late night ice cream runs and dance battles. I see long nights of homework and much-needed naps. Most importantly, I look at the bed and see a girl who sat and watched her parents leave in August and was absolutely terrified, and as I lock you up for the last time today, I am so proud of who that terrified girl is now and how much she has grown.

Thank you for being a space where I could grow, where I was tested physically, mentally and emotionally and for being my home for a year.

Sincerely,

A girl who is sad to go

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What I Wish I Knew About Life After High School Before I Had To Live It

Life after high school isn't always what you expected it to be.

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So you're about to graduate high school and you think you have it all figured out. You and your best friends are going to stay close throughout college and you're going to take those long road trips in college to see each other. Think again.

Life after high school isn't always what you want it to be. You think you'll miss high school, you'll always be close with your high school besties, and you'll have all this free time in college. That's just not entirely true. I personally do not miss high school. I don't really talk to anyone I went to high school with on a regular basis, and I'm totally OK with that. I have friends in college that I believe will be my lifelong friends whereas my friends in high school didn't make an effort to keep in contact with me after high school.

I haven't had all the free time I've dreamed of in college, because I'm busy with school and meetings. When I'm not doing homework, I'm making sure the rest of my life is in order and all my stuff for school is in line. I'm not the crazy party girl that people think I am because of where I go to school. I'd rather sit in bed and watch Netflix than go out with my friends. I'm not a 4.0 student, but I work so hard in my classes just to make sure that I'm passing. I study a week before tests and still don't always make A's. And that's OK. It's not what I expected during my college years, but it's what's happening, and most of my friends are the same way.

Anne Marie Bonadio

Just know that life in college isn't all easy, breezy, and beautiful like Covergirl. It's hard and you will struggle whether it be in school or with your friends. College isn't always complete freedom. You'll be tied down with school and life and you won't have the free time that you always imagined. You won't always be best friends with your high school friends. You won't be taking those road trips because you won't be able to afford them, and if you're like me, your parents won't let you.

College won't be exactly what you dreamed it'll be, but it'll be some of the best years of your life.

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