Chanukah, Night One: Is it the Jewish Christmas?

This is the first time that Wendy and I are

celebrating Christmas and Chanukah as a married couple. Since she’s

Jewish and I’ll celebrate any holiday as long as there’s food and

booze, I’ve extended the goodie giveaway started with the Accordion Guy

Advent Calendar to include the eight nights that make up Chanukah.

The “Jewish Christmas” description is a poor description of

Chanukah; whereas Christmas is considered to be one of the major

holidays of the Christian faith, Chanukah is a minor one in Judaism.

Calling Chanukah the Jewish analogue for Christmas is an exercise in

making poor analogies. It would be like calling a Playstation Portable

“the nerd’s prom date” (it’s overhyped, you want it in your pants, in

the end, it’s not as good as you expected it would be).

The traditional Jewish calendar, like the Chinese one, is based on

lunar, rather than solar cycles. This means that like Chinese New year,

the Gregorian Calendar (the calendar we use every day) date of Chanukah

changes every year. This year, for the first time in fifty-ish years,

Chanukah and Christmas fall on the same day.


the origins of Christmas are reasonably well known (at least here in

“The West”), many people don’t know what Chanukah is all about. Here’s

a little hint for my fellow Gentiles: most Jewish holidays have a theme

along the lines of “They tried to kill us; they failed; let’s eat!” For

a more specific explanation, I can point you to Judaism 101’s page on

the subject, but I thought it would be more fun to show you Steve

Greenberg’s comic, Is it the Jewish Christmas? [JPG file, 170K]

One reply on “Chanukah, Night One: Is it the Jewish Christmas?”

I’ll celebrate any holiday as long as there’s food and booze

So no fast days for you?

The Jewish calendar is lunisolar, actually.

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