It’s beginning to look a lot like…. Chanukah

The Jewish calendar is a lunar calendar, and so, holidays fall on different dates each year in the Julian (solar) calendar.  Chanukah, the “Festival of Lights,” tends to coincide with Christmas, but this year, it is even closer to Thanksgiving.  So it was in early November that we dusted off the menorah and took out our wooden dreidels and decorative lights.  I ran over to Books & Bagels in Zürich, my source for all things Jewish during the holidays, especially cards and candles.  Chanukah plates, decorations, stickers, games – you name it, they have it (but I don’t actually recommend the bagels, sorry.).  Gold sachets of chocolate coins (gelt) and presents arrived in a care package from New York.  All was ready for the first night (of eight) at sundown on December 1st.

Chanukah 2010Chanukah 2010

You may recall reading about the story of Chanukah the first time I celebrated it here in Zürich in 2008.  I answered a few questions, namely, what’s the deal with all the different spellings (Hanukkah, Hanuka, Channuka, etc.), why we eat fried foods, and what we do with those wooden tops called dreidels. Last but not least, I revealed just how Chanukah-friendly Switzerland actually is, with its omnipresent milk chocolate (gelt) and Rösti (potato latkes).  I may have to make Bon Appétit’s Rösti-style potato latkes again, for a perfect mix of the two.

Chanukah 2010Chanukah 2010Chanukah 2010Chanukah 2010

There’s nothing I love more than traditions, yet last year I added a sweet spin to the celebration.  While the classic dessert during this holiday is sufganiyot (doughnuts) because they are fried in oil, I focused more on the color most closely associated with the holiday, and baked blue palmiers (elephant ears).  But here’s a new idea, what about combining the two and making doughnuts with a blueberry jam filling?  Each year brings back my cherished traditions, but it’s always fun to add something new.  Perhaps the old adage rings true not just for weddings, but for Chanukah too: “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.” The original saying with Victorian origins continues, “and a silver sixpence in her shoe.” Simply make that a gold coin, and it fits. Wishing you all good fortune, and to those who celebrate, a very happy Chanukah. What will you be doing to celebrate?

Chanukah 2010

Chanukah 2008 – brief story of Chanukah, rules for playing dreidel and more

Chanukah 2009 – list of holiday recipes from around the web

20 Responses to “It’s beginning to look a lot like…. Chanukah”

  1. Tweets that mention It’s beginning to look a lot like…. Chanukah | MyKugelhopf -- says:

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  2. mom says:

    I just love this time of the year! My memory banks are full of wonderful times lighting the candles. opening presents and eating latkes. When you all were little the gift giving was fun. All those lists always growing with more stuff to ask for…the excitement of the season! Playing dreidel with m&ms! M&Ms all over the living room floor! To all your readers a very happy Chanukah…..

  3. Bethany (Dirty Kitchen Secrets) says:

    Happy Chanukah Kerrin!

  4. jen laceda says:

    Happy Chanukah!!!

  5. Kerrin says:

    mom, oh absolutely, you know I love this time of year too ! 🙂 And hey – the gift giving is *still* fun, right ?! 🙂 Making lists, playing dreidel and getting excited too, which I most certainly am !

    Bethany and jen, thanks girls !! Almost holiday time… yay !!

  6. Romy says:

    Happy Chanukah to you, Kerrin & Olivier! Hope you had a great time in the Canary Islands – welcome back! 🙂

  7. Lauren at KeepItSweet says:

    i can’t believe how early chanukah is this year! i still haven’t decided what dessert to make, though it might be chanukah-themed sugar cookies:-)

  8. KugelDad says:

    Like mom, I absolutely love this time of year, and yeah, the memory banks are filled with so so many things. It was incredible watching the pile of gifts grow and grow (consider, each of us giving a gift to each of us for 8 days, plus the gifts for the rest of the family – whoa baby, that was one pile of gifts!). And i love that we’ve kept up the “Chanukah Train” tradition, chugging around the house (and now apartments) singing “da da da da da da da Chanukah”. Soooooooooo fun. Can’t wait to do it again. A very happy and healthy Chanukah (and an early Merry Christmas) to all.

  9. Meeta says:

    are you back yet? or have the storms blown you away? LOL! wishing you and olivier and very happy “festival lights”, k! thought of you lots this weekend!

  10. Valentina says:

    Dear Kerrin, a very happy chanukah to you. Lovely post.I loved ‘kugeldad’.very humorous.

  11. Kerrin says:

    Romy, a double thanks so much ! We´re still in the Canary Islands in fact, not so rushed to get home to freezing temperatures and snow… 😉

    Lauren, I know, it´s so strange how early Chanukah is this year. But less waiting for all the fun, presents and desserts ! 🙂 Sugar cookies are always a winner. If you do make any other desserts, let me know for sure, I´d love to hear. Hope you enjoy the holiday !

    KugelDad, thanks for the fun memories !! And oh those piles of gifts and family traditions, to be a kid forever…!! 😉

    Meeta, nope, not back yet, and thankfully the storm finally ended. Just in time for us to get a little sun before going home to winter. Thanks for the sweet wishes, m ! Thought of you in London and now rainbow-filled Weimar too !

    Valentina, muito obrigada ! And as for KugelDad, é ainda uma criança :O)

    And Dad, if you´re now wondering what that means… always a child at heart ! Don´t change !

  12. Eileen says:

    Dear Kerrin, I am also from New York, now happily living in Geneva. I once heard that the reason the holiday begins at sundown was to align the celebration with the calendar day in Israel. I don’t know if this is true, but I was trying to figure out if Hannukah begins tonight at sundown as in New York, or tomorrow. Do you know?

    Thank you in advance and Happy Hannukah.

  13. Ilana says:

    Happy Chanukah! We’ll think of you as we light the menorah tonight!

  14. Kerrin says:

    Eileen, ooh another (Jewish) New Yorker in Switzerland, love hearing from you, thank you ! I believe the reason, or another reason, holidays begin at sundown goes back to the Bible, and when G-d determined the beginning of the day, in the evening. Either way, in New York, Switzerland or where I am right now off of Africa´s west coast, Chanukah begins tonight (December 1st) and tomorrow is the first day. Just about to light the menorah here… Happy Chanukah to you !

    Ilana, and a most happy Chanukah to the Halberg trio as well ! Thinking of you here in the Canaries as we light the menorah too !! 🙂

  15. Uncle Beefy says:

    HAPPY CHANUKAH, Kerrin! 🙂 Wishing you the absolute best of the season! I may have to whip up a big ole batch of latkes in your honor! Although, somehow I always end up the official latke maker during every Chanukah celebration I go to? I must’ve been a Jewish Grandmother in a past life? What else could explain the number who ask me – the Irish (former) Catholic – boy for my Noodle Kugel recipe? 😉

    Anyway, the best of everything to you and yours! 🙂

  16. Julia @ Mélanger says:

    Nothing quite like a holiday to ground you back to reality. Wishing you, Olivier and your family in New York a lovely Chanukah!

  17. Katrin says:

    Happy Chanukah (gotta spell it with that wonderful chchchch sound already built in) and see you soon! I recommend adding an extra layer of clothing on each flight on the way home (you’ve got 5, right?), that way the -5C won’t be such a shock!

  18. Kerrin says:

    Uncle Beefy, a very big oily thank you to you ! Your comments always put a big smile on my face. And watch out, because I may just be asking for your kugel recipe too. Definitely a Bubbe in a previous life, you and your kugel, latkes… and let’s not forget your babkah either, Mr. B ! =)

    Julia, you are so right. Not always exciting to have to go home from vacation, but with Chanukah waiting for us here, all good ! Thank you, mon amie.

    Katrin, thanks ! And you bet, the “ch” is my spelling of choice, a nod to my Swiss German home ! 😉 Four flights and now home, and I think the snow on the ground here frightened away any tan I had – it just disappeared !! Boo and brrrrr.

  19. valentina says:

    querida, doce Kerrin, queria dizer – depois de muitas taças de vinho (LOL) que ri muito ao ler que o teu pai é ainda uma criança. Meu Deus, o Teu português me surpreende a cada minuto. Agora, you dad made me laugh. YOu are such a wonderful girl. your enthusiasm is beautiful, contagious..and amongst the many wonderful things that have happened to me in 2010, your blog has been a wonderful discovery. i will be an avid reader for a long long time. i have little time so sometimes I might come back and read many posts at once..but with immense pleasure. Feliz natal!! um ano novo do peru para voce!! e seu marido!!! xxx

  20. Kerrin says:

    valentina, o b r i g a d a a a a a a a !!!!

    (and my Portuguese may surprise you, but shouldn’t impress you… I get a bit (or a LOT !) of help from Olivier who is fluent ! =)) I hope you enjoy the holiday season, many beijos to you and only good, sweet things to come in 2011…

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