Sunset tonight begins the long-celebrated Jewish tradition of Hanukkah! Eight days and nights will follow in observance of this traditional Hebrew holiday which will take us right up to nightfall on New Year’s Day. Like any other holiday, Hanukkah is typically celebrated with a great assortment of festive foods, singing, playing games, and ritualistic traditions—like the lighting of the Hanukkiah (the traditional candleholder that is often confused for a menorah).
The eight days of Hanukkah don’t land consistently on the calendar the way Christmas does so steadily on December 25 every year. Instead, it jumps around seemingly with no rhyme or reason. But there is actually a method to the apparent madness. See, Hanukkah does abide by a consistent date on the calendar year after year—it’s just not the same calendar that we commonly use.
The Hebrews used a lunisolar calendar which is based on the sun and the moon whereas the traditional Gregorian calendar that we all know so well today only considers the sun and the time it takes the earth to move around it. While the date may jump around from year to year on the Gregorian calendar, Hanukkah consistently begins on the 25 of Kislev, a month of the Hebrew calendar.
When you and your family gather for your festivities this year and you enjoy your time together with song, games, and delicious Mandelbrot, we here at Everything Summer Camp wish you peace and warmth as you light your Hanukkiah in remembrance of the seven-day miracle that kept the Maccabees menorah burning for eight days, though they only had a day’s worth of oil.
Happy Hanukkah to all of our Jewish summer camp families. Keep warm in this wintry season with the love of your family and your faith and, as always, thanks for reading.