Eight Nights are Better than One


Colleen Burke, Staff Writer

While many students are hunkering down by the fireplace embracing their family traditions on a Christmas Eve, some have a different agenda. Winter break is often thought of as Christmas break for all those who celebrate it. However, people don’t always take into account those who don’t share the same religious beliefs or traditions.

On Christmas Eve and Christmas day towns seem to shut down, with very few restaurants open. Senior Asher Jaffe spends Christmas Eve at a Chinese restaurant ever year.

“We love going out on Christmas because almost everyone is inside and it’s a great time to do activities such as hiking or sightseeing, since there are no crowds,” Jaffe said. Jaffe and his family are Jewish so they do not celebrate Christmas during the winter break. Instead they spend the time bonding as a family.

Junior Maya Konstantino, another student who celebrates Hanukkah, explains it as eight days of parties. “We just go to different people’s houses or people come over and you light candles and eat latkes and sufganiyot, which are like doughnuts basically. It’s really fun and you sing and listen to music and the atmosphere is really warm and exciting.” Konstantino emphasizes that Christmas is one night, while Hanukkah is eight.

Most Jewish people celebrate by joining together with other families, lighting the menorah and exchanging gifts. This year, Hanukkah falls before winter break due to the Jewish calendar being a lunar one.

“When it’s during break, because I am usually away, it is really hard to celebrate every night because you don’t really want to bring a menorah and candles with you when you are traveling. But when it’s before like this year, it’s more normal,” senior Devin Stein said.

Around 165 BCE the Maccabees, a Jewish family from the second and first century BC that began the restoration of the Jewish political and religious life, a engaged in a battle against the rulers of Jerusalem, the Syrian-Greeks. Although outnumbered, the Maccabees managed to defeat the Syrian-Greeks. Legend has it the Jewish people only had enough oil to burn for one day, but God made it last for eight, which is why a candle is lit each of the eight nights.

There are many students who celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah, but those who only celebrate Hanukkah don’t usually feel as though they are missing out. They are raised with different celebrations and traditions with they enjoy in their own way. For both religions, their winter celebrations bring a sense of unity and love.