are half Jewish and half Hindu,
so we receive gifts on both the festivals of lights:
Hanukkah and Diwali.
"Hin-Jew" Festivals of Lights
(Diwali and Hunukkah)
talk about holidays, my mother teases my sister and me about how
we "make out like bandits." She is referring to the fact that we
are half Jewish and half Hindu, so we receive gifts on both the
festivals of lights: Hanukkah and Diwali. Though my mother
teases us, I do not mind getting two sets of gifts!
already be familiar with the story and traditions of Hanukkah.
It is the Jewish festival of lights. When the Maccabees
reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem from the Greeks, they
found that there was only one day's worth of oil left to light
the Menorah, which had to remain lit constantly. It would take
eight days to receive more oil. Miraculously, the Menorah stayed
lit all eight days. For this reason, we celebrate Hanukkah for
eight days, and each night, we add a new candle to the Hanukkah
like most Jewish families, we light a Menorah and say a prayer
each night. We also say a special prayer on the first night.
After that, it is a tradition for my sister and me to play 'hot
and cold' for our hidden Hanukkah gifts. When we walk towards
the gift, our parents say 'hot,' and when we walk further away,
they say 'cold.' We each receive one present every night of
Hanukkah. Another part I like about this holiday is seeing
family members whom we do not see often. My aunt usually stays
for a few days, and we sometimes visit other relatives.
Diwali is the
Hindu festival of lights. One of the many stories behind Diwali
comes from Ramayana, an Indian epic. King Dashratha must send
Rama, his eldest son and heir to the throne, to the forest for
14 years to keep boons he had granted to one of his three wives,
Kaikeyi. The boons were a gift for saving his life. She also
wanted her son to be the king. However, her son refuses to sit
on the throne and saves it for his eldest brother. Rama returns
after winning a fierce war against a very powerful and
unrighteous emperor, Ravana. The whole kingdom welcomes him home
and celebrates his return.
Diwali, my family does a pooja, or prayers, in honor the goddess
Lakshmi. Since she is the goddess of wealth and prosperity, the
pooja includes washing silver coins in milk and water. In India,
people decorate their houses with lamps, similar to the way you
might light up your house for Christmas. My family just places a
few candles outside. We also set off firecrackers, which is my
favorite part. We often do this activity with friends to add to
have different histories and stories. We celebrate them
indifferent ways, yet they both have the same meaning, literally
and figuratively. They both translate into Festival of Lights,
and they both mean family and presents for me!
1. How do the Jewish
people celebrate Hanukkah?
2. How do the Hindu people
3. What are the
similarities between Hanukkah and Diwali?
4. What is the origin of Diwali?