Archives for category: Holidays

Already.  Christmas has come and gone.  Soon those decorated trees will disappear.  Let’s take a last look at the trees that decorated our homes, offices, and open spaces all over the place. Until next year…

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The National Tree Washington, D.C.

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Rockefeller Center Tree New York City

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National Harbor Tree Maryland

Book Tree

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Our Home Tree

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Menorah

It began at sunset yesterday, December 16.  Jewish communities around the world joined in celebrating Hanukkah.  Also known as the “Festival of Lights,” during the eight-day celebration families gather to light the menorah, enjoy holiday foods, recite prayers, play games and exchange gifts.  While Jewish holidays don’t have associated colors, blue and white (often silver) are common to Hanukkah.  Some say because those are the colors of the Israeli flag.

Like many celebrations, Hanukkah has many traditional elements.  At the heart of the holiday is the nightly lighting of the menorah, a candelabra that holds nine candles.  Foods include latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganyot (jelly doughnuts), both fried in oil.  Singing songs around the menorah and playing with dreidels are part of the family fun. Chocolate candy money, known as gelt, is given to children. That stems from the long-ago tradition of handing out gifts of gelt, the Yiddish word for money.

Happy Hanukkah!

Rosh Hashanah Dinner Party

Shana Tova!  Happy New Year—the year 5,772.  No, there’s no dancing in the streets of New York’s Time Square, no confetti, and no silver ball drop.  Yes, a horn is played—the sounding of the shofar, the ram’s horn. It’s Rosh Hashanah when many celebrate the Jewish New Year in synagogues and at a festive gatherings over dinner with friends and family.  As a faux foodie, I’m focusing on the food aspect of the season.

Apples and Honey

Like most holidays, this one is full of symbolism and traditions.  And there is an abundance of holiday foods in round shapes with sweet tastes.  Round challah loaves filled with raisins, cut and dipped in honey (some do dip it in salt) are part of the traditional holiday feast.   There are comfort foods galore including brisket, chopped liver and a head of a fish—or lamb—reflecting Rosh Hashanah, which means “head of the year.”   Kreplach, meat-filled dumplings, in broth; matzoh ball soup; and sweet carrot stew called tzimmes are menu musts.  Other sweets eaten are apples dipped in honey to symbolize a sweet new year and pomegranates, symbolic of a year full of good deeds.  Pomegranates also mark the custom of eating a new fruit, one not tasted before the season.  Most bitter or sour flavors don’t make it to the high holiday table.

Rejuvenate, celebrate, and appreciate good friends, family, and food…that’s expected during this holiday kicking off the year 5,772.