happy hanukkah! chag sameach! happy birthday, sweet baby jesus (that’s what we’re celebrating, right? (i jest. i do)) as i write this, it is the second day of the jewish festival of lights. basically, what growing up in a jewish family in a country with a majority of the population being christians, was our version of christmas. my family aren’t overly traditional when it comes to celebrations. like, at all. which, for someone like me who loves traditions and things to look forward to, hasn’t always been the most fun. to the point where last year i didn’t even go home for the holidays (can i get an “awwww”?). i guess having been exposed to hollywood perfection and christmas crooners and marks and spencer ads has lead to my romanticising the holidays to a certain degree, to a standard that’s hard to live up to.
but this year, things have changed. my dad has decided to throw the hanukkah bash of my dreams, so i flew in on friday just for a couple of days to celebrate with my family again. my mum, my brother and our dog picked me up at the airport, followed by a quick waltz with good ol’ liam at the airport and completed by a classic crazy dance party with the four of us once we got home. oh, how i love the insane bunch of people that are my family. oh how dearly i do.
i have many memories of hanukkah, most of them revolving around food. the main one being my safta (being my mum’s mum) making joich with knaidlach (or knejdlach. or kneidlach. believe me, if you ever had tasted them, semantics wouldn’t matter). as i said before, my family’s not the most traditional of families. and even the tradition of making the ever so delicious chicken soup with loads of veggies (i’d always get my brother’s carrots) and matzo balls of fluffy deliciousness, isn’t actually traditional in the, well, traditional sense, seeing as knaidlach are traditionally (gosh, that’s half of the words in this paragraph) eaten at pesach and not hanukkah. oh well. whilst a soup probably isn’t inherently an appetizer as such, the knaidlach are as bite-sized as it gets. truly. my mum and i met in the kitchen yesterday morning, accompanied by michael bublé’s christmas album (as jewish as it gets) to patiently roll almost 90 walnut-sized balls (the secret lies in using sparkling water to make them extra light), which were devoured within minutes later that night by the dozen family members and add-ons my dad had invited.
we spent an evening of food-overkill (it wouldn’t be a jewish holiday without that), singing (again. part of them jew parties) and blaming people for things that happened decades ago (so basically the most jewish or festivities ever. i get it) and i can’t wait to make knaidlaching with my mum a new tradition.