Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Great Miracle Happened There

Chanukkah -- beginning tonight at sundown and lasting for 8 days -- is a minor holiday on the Jewish calendar which, in recent years, has unfortunately sometimes tried to compete with the materialistic behemoth that Christmas has become. But its beauty is actually in the inherent simplicity of its primary tradition: bringing light into the world each evening to celebrate a miracle.

Chanukkah honors the rededication of the temple in Jerusalem after it was desecrated by the armies of Antiochus IV. Oil was needed to keep the Eternal Flame burning, but only one day's worth of consecrated oil was available … yet the oil burned for 8 days.

And so, on each night of Chanukkah a menorah -- a special candelabra that holds 9 candles: one for each night of the holiday, plus one extra to use in lighting the others -- is lit as special blessings are recited. And foods made with or, particularly, cooked in oil are eaten in keeping with the festivities.

Religious significance in eating fried foods ... does it get any better than this???

One can also play with dreidels -- small top-like toys used in a game of chance. They are imprinted with Hebrew letters representing the phrase “Nes Gadol Haya Sham” [ness gah-DOLE hi-YAH SHAHM] = “A great miracle occurred there." (Dreidels in Israel will have letters representing the phrase "A great miracle occurred here.")






In honor of Chanukkah, I've taken the liberty to change the lyrics to a well-known Christmas song, in order to show a bit of the culinary variety that can be enjoyed over the eight days of the holiday while still honoring its traditions. The first night, as far as I'm concerned, is all about the latkes -- fried potato pancakes -- but the rest of the evenings can be about foods either rich or simple, exotic or familiar, fattening or healthy.

Chanukkah Sameach!!! [hahn-uh-KUH sah-may-AHCK] = Happy Chanukkah!!!

The Eight Nights of Chanukkah (sung to the tune of "The Twelve Days of Christmas")

On the first night of Chanukkah, my true love ate with me
latkes with curry and peas.

On the second night of Chanukkah, my true love ate with me
raspberry jelly doughnuts and latkes with curry and peas.

On the third night of Chanukkah, my true love ate with me
spaghetti squash with spinach, raspberry jelly doughnuts, and latkes with curry and peas.

On the fourth night of Chanukkah, my true love ate with me
seasoned dipping oil, spaghetti squash with spinach, raspberry jelly doughnuts, and latkes with curry and peas.

On the fifth night of Chanukkah, my true love ate with me
sour cream cut-out cookies, seasoned dipping oil, spaghetti squash with spinach, raspberry jelly doughnuts, and latkes with curry and peas.

On the sixth night of Chanukkah, my true love ate with me
pasta with anchovies, sour cream cut-out cookies, seasoned dipping oil, spaghetti squash with spinach, raspberry jelly doughnuts, and latkes with curry and peas.

On the seventh night of Chanukkah, my true love ate with me
deep-fried breaded olives, pasta with anchovies, sour cream cut-out cookies, seasoned dipping oil, spaghetti squash with spinach, raspberry jelly doughnuts, and latkes with curry and peas.

On the eighth night of Chanukkah, my true love ate with me
vinaigrette on salad, deep-fried breaded olives, pasta with anchovies, sour cream cut-out cookies, seasoned dipping oil, spaghetti squash with spinach, raspberry jelly doughnuts, and latkes with curry and peas!!!





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11 comments:

Jenn said...

So do you say happy Chanukkah or merry Chanukkah or does it matter? Either way...I hope your Chanukkah is filled with fried foods and people you love :) Thank you for the background on it too! Oh, and the song... I love it!

Cranberry Morning said...

What a wonderful tradition. This reminds me also of Elijah and the widow's oil that didn't run out. Great song, you're so clever! I see that you and your true love are going to put on a few pounds over Chanukkah. LOL Can I have one of those raspberry jelly doughnuts? :-)

Karen Harris said...

Happy Chanukkah Mary!

TeacherPatti said...

I once read a book where a rabbi said, "Do everyone a favor and don't compare Christmas to Hanukkah. It's like saying Cinco de Mayo and Mother's Day are the same just because they both fall in May." Perfect!

*It's My Party* said...

You've now planted this song in my head! Great use of food and tradition in your translation. I'll have a sample of everything, thank you.

Caren Gittleman said...

lOVED THIS!

HAPPY CHANUKAH!!!!

No latkes for me tonight...on a diet! :)

Dan said...

best lyrics ever.

Jenn at Sweet T Makes Three said...

Happy Chanukkah! New follower from Welcome Wednesday.

Kate said...

Hello my new friend! Very festive page! I found you on a Wednesday blog hop. I hope you'll stop bye and visit :)

http://loveiseverywhere.blogspot.com/

Kate
xoxo

Sheila said...

Mary, thank you for telling us about Chanukkah. I love hearing about it and now my friend Susan's comment about an excuse to eat fried food makes sense! :)

Happy Chanukkah!

Sheila

JJ said...

I found you through Robin's blog, which I love. I am now following this site, and I invite you to follow my blog as well.

The Disconnected Writer
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