Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Festival of Lights

Today is the first day of Chanukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights. In the UK it also happens to be the shortest day of the year... so it’s a time when we all need light in our lives in more ways than one.

Chanukah lasts for eight days. We have special candlesticks called Menorahs or Chanukiahs. When I was in Jerusalem in October I bought myself this lovely new Chanukiah. [Did I mention that we went to Jerusalem?! I did! Whoops, I do keep repeating myself!] 

The photo doesn't really do it justice. It's soooo pretty.
The middle branch is the lighter candle, called the shamash, which is used to light the other candles. Each night an extra candle is lit until on the eighth night there are nine candles burning. It’s a really fun time for the children who look forward to a small gift as each candle is lit.

Chanukah commemorates a miracle, a historical event that took place over 2,300 years ago. The Jewish temple in Jerusalem had been ransacked. When Judah and the Maccabees reclaimed the temple they found that all the oil had been contaminated except for one small jug which held enough for a single day. There’s always a light burning in a Jewish place of worship and so the oil lamp was filled and lit. Then a miracle happened as the tiny amount of oil stayed lit not for one day but for eight days, enough time for fresh oil to be prepared.

But when we light the Chanukah candles today we also celebrate the power of light. If our house is in darkness we stumble and fall over each other. The same can be said of the world. If we light a candle to light the world... 

if we ALL light a candle to light the world

then there’ll be no more darkness, no one will stumble, none of us need fall. Maybe one day.

Here’s a fun message from a cartoon character called Rabbi Infinity that shows us how light is more powerful than dark. It's called A Little Light.

Whatever festival you’re celebrating, or about to celebrate, may it be a happy, healthy and peaceful time for everyone.


  1. What an inspiring post - feel quite envious as I have nothing to offer that could match that...thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks, Rosalind. I'll think of that when we light our candles. Happy Chanukah!

  3. What a wonderful post. I love your new Chanukiah too. It's really pretty.

    Happy Chanukah!

  4. Makes me wish it was part of our celebrations it's such a lovely tradition. Happy Chanukah.

  5. Happy Chanukah! Lovely to know that it's today because it's my Dad's birthday :-) I agree - we'd all do well to light a candle to illuminate the world.

  6. Happy Chanukah! Great minds think alike ... I wrote something similar for today's post ... only with a different spelling ... and I'm not even Jewish. (But I recognize a wonderful tradition when I see it.) Shalom.

  7. That is such a lovely message about light-darkness. Thanks, Rosalind.
    Have a very Happy Hanukah!

  8. Lovely post! The world definitely needs more light in it!

  9. Happy Chanukah!
    What a beautiful Menorah.
    I'm burning candles beside you, just without the Menorah. :)

  10. This time of year is about light in so many beautiful ways ... Happy Chanukah to you ...

  11. Well I've learnt something today!And the power of light is so strong.....

    Thanks Ros for such a thoughtful post....

  12. This is such a lovely menorah, and you did a wonderful job of shining light on the holiday! Wishing you and your family a very Happy Hanukkah! Julie

  13. Hi Susan and Miriam and thanks.

    Hi Shirley, thanks it’s much prettier in real life too.

    Hi Cassam, thanks. It was especially exciting when we were kids.

    Hi Susan, happy birthday to your Dad.

    Hi Robyn, it was part of the sermon given by the Rabbi at the Chanukah service so I did pinch the idea but he said to spread the word.

    Hi Jemi, maybe one day all our flames will make a difference.

    Hi Rubye and Julie and thanks.

    Hi Joanne, yes, I love to see all the coloured lights shining on dark evenings.

    Hi Bridget, glad to bring some more light into your store of knowledge!! ;-)

  14. Oooo, that is a pretty Chanukiah.
    Wishing you a very blessed new year!

  15. Hi Ros .. lovely post and I loved seeing the Chanukiah ... I heard a child try and explain it - he did a pretty good job .. but now I can see it via your photo. Very pretty holder .. and so pleased you had that fantastic time in Jerusalem ..

    Hope you're having a lovely time with family and friends .. many thoughts - cheers Hilary

  16. The video was so adorable. Just a little light...