The following is a repost. Of course I updated a few things, but I left it virtually intact because I still have the money pit to attend to.
I will say this about Hanukkah 2012, though. The Jews really have it together because it ends before December 21st.
Enjoy those latkes while you can.
Sunset this evening marks the beginning of Hanukkah (I finally had to look up the spelling), better known as the Festival of Lights or, according to that cinematic wunderkind, Adam Sandler, Eight Crazy Nights.
Starts before Christmas. Ends before the end of the world.
Up yours, Mayans.
Much like Easter, the exact timing of Hanukkah is probably a mystery to a lot of people. Interestingly enough, like Easter, it has to do with Jewish folks (yes, Jesus was a Jew. He wasn't born in a Catholic manger, cranky fundamentalists notwithstanding). This, of course, means that the average Joe (or Herschel) must consult with his rabbi, ancient Talmudic guidance, a Magic 8 ball, the entrails of an owl, and the calendar he got from his heating oil supplier last January to figure out when exactly he's supposed to dust off the family menorah (and Aunt Sadie).
But, for those playing at home, it occurs on 25 Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar. Which, I'm quite sure, clears it all up.
|Could be worse.|
She could be your mom.
Needless to say, it's sometime in December. Last year, it straddled Christmas like Snooki on that guy who sells Kettle Korn on the Ocean City boardwalk. This year, though, the hoopla starts tonight and concludes next week after that sweater from Cousin Sadie has been exchanged for an iTunes gift card.
Growing up Catholic, I don't know an awful lot about Hanukkah (I know a helluva lot about getting smacked on the knuckles with rulers, though). What I do know I picked up on street corners and from Mrs. Penwasser #1 (who actually was more like #2. If you know what I mean)
But, I'll give it a shot...
|I'll bet this isn't historically accurate|
A long time ago (I think it was the second century before Christ. Well, before Facebook, anyway) in a place called Judea (which became Palestine which became Israel which became the world's punching bag), a group of people called the Maccabees were seriously hacked off about something. I think they were ticked off at their oppressors who were some kind of Greeks. But, I suppose it could have been anybody. After all, that part of the world has been conquered by pretty much anyone with a chip on their shoulder: Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Canadian Geese, Chaldeans, Greeks, Macedonians, Romans, Persians, Parthians, Arabs, the Republicans, Crusaders, Crusader Rabbit, Arabs II, Godfather III, Normans, Guys Named Fred, the French (yeah, no kidding), Martians, Up With People!, Ottoman Turks, the Salvation Army, the cast of La Cage Aux Folles, confused Vikings, tourists from Iowa looking for a "nice, clean rest room," Germans (I'm not exactly sure, but it's a good bet), the Amish, Mormons, Arabs III, the night shift at the Peoria 5 Guys, Sylvester Stallone, and Batman.
|I have a strong suspicion|
these dudes are Christians. And midgets with halos.
I don't give a flying crap what Google says.
One of their leaders, Judah (or Morton) led a revolt. The revolting people (ooh, bad choice of words) held out as long as they could against the bad guys (can't tell the players without the above list). Supplies were getting pretty low; they were running perilously short on food, water, chocolate coins, potato pancakes, and Barbra Streisand records. But, for some reason, starving to death wasn't as important as keeping their lamps lit in the temple. In fact, they only had enough oil for one night (made worse by the fact that Thomas Edison wouldn't be born for another 1,900 years. Yeah, bummer. Coulda used a light bulb.).
|"What's that? Stubbed your toe in the dark?|
Yeah, cry me a river and
give me a shout in the 19th century."
But, the Lord (all sources are pretty clear on this) provided enough oil for eight days of light (for those of you who didn't pay attention, this is where we get Festival of Lights and Eight Crazy Nights). Not for nothin', he should have provided enough lunchmeat and bread for the revoltees to make a sandwich. And machine guns. We never really covered that in Sister Caligula's World History class, though.
So, the Greeks, figuring they were beaten, decided to relent (Interesting Vocab Tidbit: "Relent" could also mean a "Lent" do-over). This being the case, the Judeans won their freedom.
And even had enough light to see the invading Roman legions.
But, that's another story.
DISCLAIMER: The preceding is what I can remember of the Hanukkah story. I really could have consulted a reputable source like the online Encyclopedia Britannica or Wikipedia (because they're never wrong) to make sure I got all my facts correct. In that case, you'd think I was a genius. In this case, you may think I'm an idiot. Heyyy..........
For what I got completely wrong, I apologize. I meant no disrespect. OK, maybe a little disrespect. But, you know me. I even tell Pope jokes.
In any event, for my Jewish friends (or even those who like getting presents for eight straight nights), have a blessed and
|I checked. You can spell 'dreidel' this way.|
This is what they played before Call of Duty.
P.S. Just make sure to keep enough oil in your furnace. Let's give God a break. He's had a rough couple of millennia.