Day 183 – The first night of Hanukkah

Hanukkah bear : )

Tonight at nightfall the first candle of the menorah is lit. It starts eight nights of celebration and commemorates the re dedication of the Temple of Jerusalem by Judas Maccabee in 165 bc.  Hanukkah comes from the Hebrew word “Khanu” meaning ‘and they rested’ and from the Hebrew date Kaf Hey which equals 25. This is why the Hanukkah celebration starts on the 25th of the month of Kislev.

Tonight starts the celebration!

The sun has set

Since the sun has set the table is lit only by candles. The menorah in the background was lent by a friend who went over the lighting instructions with me before I brought it home. Unfortunately we got it backwards so I apologize now : ) I fixed it on the menorah on our homepage which will be lit everyday.

Respectful bling : )

I wanted to make sure we stayed respectful but still worked some bling onto the table. I started with the white china plates edged in gold on a royal blue cloth, layerd on a silver glass plate and then topped it all with these fun star bowls. Naturally the ‘good’ sterling silverware had to come out (don’t keep the good stuff hidden away, it’ll just get used at your wake!) and I found the niftiest napkins at Target of all places this year!

I bent my own guideline about buying things specifically for the blog – in this case I saw an ENTIRE aisle of Hanukkah products at Target this year while searching for bird ornaments and knew I wouldn’t be able to find more perfect napkins for this holiday. Good job Target!

I pulled out my stunning little silver-base bowls and decided to use them for a votive holder (before the soup course). Gold chocolate coins artistically litter the table : ) Any holiday that includes copious amounts of chocolate is really GOOD.

Can you say 'sparkle'?

By far the best piece of the table, besides the star bowls and napkins, is the centerpiece. My friend Erika, who owns our local pet food store Wags & Whiskers, had this as part of her display in the front window. I mentioned my lack of decorative pieces for some of our ideas and she started pulling out boxes of stuff from the back room and things out of the window. This blue and silver mirrored tower is just AWESOME! Perfect on the table : )

Just so you can get an idea of the color in regular light:

Awesome!

Given some time I’m sure we could find a small rotating base and hook up a small spot light to make a disco cone.  I’m just not sure how respectful that would be on this particular holiday : )

Here’s some cool stuff I found out about menorahs:

The tallest Public Menorah is located in Manhattan on the corner of 5th Avenue and 59th Street. It is 32 feet high and almost just as wide.

There are more than 7,000 public Menorahs sponsored by Lubavitch around the world, and close to 10,000 mounted on cars.

(Cars?? Seriously???)

The first large public Menorah lighting was held in 1975 at Union Square in San Francisco (and built by music producer Bill Graham)

The world’s largest menorah is lit every night of Chanukah near New York’s Central Park in Manhattan. A work of art designed by world-acclaimed artist Yaakov Agam, it stands 32 feet tall; the people lighting it are lifted to its top in a cherry-picker.

The first night of Hanukkah can never fall on a Monday night.

And finally…

On the first night of Chanukah in 1997, a 12-foot high pyramid made of 6,400 sufganiyot (fried jelly doughnuts) was erected near the Israeli town of Afula. The blob was dismantled later, and the sufganiyot were distributed to Israeli soldiers serving along the border with Lebanon. The attempt to get into The Guinness Book of World Records was sponsored by a food store chain.

There are a great many websites out there with information on Hanukkah, menorahs and all the attendant traditions. Here are a couple:

http://www.chabad.org/holidays/chanukah/default_cdo/jewish/Hanukkah.htm

http://hanukkah.123holiday.net/index.html

And the bear at the beginning? He’s from Wags and Whiskers, he’s just cute : ) We all need whimsy in our lives.

We are exactly half way through the year!

183 days to go!!

 

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