Hanukkah and Kwanzaa Holiday Events

Though Christmas gets the most press when it comes to December, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa also take place this same month. Not everyone may be familiar with the meanings and traditions surrounding these important cultural holidays, so we’ve put together descriptions of each as well as local events to attend.

 

 

Hannakah
Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday that begins on December 8 this year. Hanukkah is about God’s protection of the Israelites and the miracles that occurred on the day. The holiday celebrates the triumph of faith and courage over military leaders, when a band of Israelites stood up for their right to be Jewish.

Hanukkah by definition means dedication and is celebrated for 8 days to recall the miracle when the menorah burned for 8 days at the Temple.

There are many great ways to celebrate Hanukkah. Lighting a menorah is an important aspect of the holiday. A candle is lit each day of Hanukkah on a candelabrum called a menorah, and the children are given a gift each of these nights. Children play with dreidels which are a symbol of Jewish faith. The dreidel can be played as a game for candy or coins, among other items and is enjoyed by children and sometimes adults, too.

Fried, oil-rich foods are the main feast for Hanukkah. The frying oil reminds celebrants of the miracle of the oil (the Temple had only one days worth of oil yet it burned for 8 days). Hanukkah just wouldn’t be the same without latkes and applesauce. Latkes, or pancakes made from shredded potatoes, onions, matzoh meal and salt, are fried in oil to crispy gold brown and then served with applesauce (and often sour cream). Small powdered sugar donuts, called sufgeniot are also a popular Hanukkah treat.

Hanukkah Events on Long Island
“The Miracle Of A Song” Hanukkah Concert
When
: Sunday, December 2 at 4 p.m.|
Age Group:
All Ages
How Much:
$18-$36 depending on seating and ages
Where
: South Huntington Jewish Center, 2600 New York Avenue, Melville NY 11747
Contact
: 631-421-3224
Website
: www.shjc.org
________________________________________

Temple Or Elohim of Jericho’s December to Remember
When
: Friday, December 7 at 7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m.
Age Group:
All ages
How Much:
Free
Where
: 18 Tobie Lane, Jericho NY 11753
Contact:
516-932-5410
Website
: www.templeorelohim.com
________________________________________

Hanukkah Party and Chinese Auction
When
: Saturday, December 8 at 8 p.m.
Age Group:
All ages
How Much:
Donations for auction
Where
: Congregation Beth El Massapequa, 99 Jerusalem Avenue, Massapequa NY 11758
Contact
: 516-541-0740
Website
: www.beth-el-massapequa.org/calendar
________________________________________

Menorah Lighting and Hanukkah Celebration
When:
Saturday, December 8 at 6 p.m.
Age Group:
All Ages
How Much:
Free
Where
: Congregation Beth Shalom, 441 Deer Park Avenue, Babylon Village, NY 11702
Contact
: 631-587-5650
Website: www.congregationbethsholom.com
________________________________________

Ice Menorah Carving and Lighting
When
: Sunday, December 9 at 3:30 p.m. for carving & activities, 4:15 p.m. for ice menorah lighting
Age Group:
All ages
How Much:
Free
Where
: Parking lot at Whole Foods in Jericho, 429 North Broadway, Jericho NY 11753
Contact
: 516-922-6489
Website
: www.jewishoysterbay.org/#
________________________________________

Maccabeats at North Shore Jewish Center
When
: Sunday, December 16 from 3 p.m.-5 p.m.
Age Group:
All ages
How Much:
Children 2 and under free / Adults $28 (NSJC member $22) / Child (under 18) $24 (NSJC member $18)
Where
: North Shore Jewish Center, 385 Old Town Road, Port Jefferson Station NY 11776
Contact
: 631-456-2001/631-252-5553
Website
: events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07e6bl5rol6f73ffb2&llr=nzcxsrkab

To visit the calendar for all of the Suffolk Y Jewish Community Center Events please click www.suffolkyjcc.org

Kwanzaa
Kwanzaa is not a religious holiday, but one that celebrates important aspects of African American life. African Americans honor family, community and culture every year during Kwanzaa from December 26 through January 1.

There are seven principles associated with Kwanzaa: unity, self determination, work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.  These principles are celebrated in many ways:

  • Decorating with red, black and green
  • Pouring libation from a unity cup
  • Lighting the Kinara which is a candleholder that holds 7 candles which represents one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa
  • To honor children, one ear of corn is placed under a Kinara for each child

Kuumba is celebrated on December 31 with a feast called Karamau which celebrates cultural expression. Friends gather together to play games and make crafts. The crafts that are made are exchanged by friends on the last day of Kwanzaa. Food is a big part of this holiday. Many spicy foods such as curried chicken with bean soup and chicken with herbs are served.

Kwanzaa Events on Long Island
2012 Kwanzaa Celebration at Hempstead Town Hall
When
: Thursday, December 20 at 4 p.m.
Age Group:
All Ages
How Much:
Free
Where
: 1 Washington Street, Hempstead, NY 11550
Website
: www.dorothygoosby.com
________________________________________

Kwanzaa Celebration hosted by the Long Island Chapter of The National Coalition of 100 Black Women
When
: Tuesday, December 18 from 7 p.m.-8:45 p.m.
Age Group:
All ages
How Much:
Free
Where
: Hempstead Library (Community Room), 115 Nicolls Court, Hempstead, NY 11550
Website
: The National Coalition of 100 Black Women Kwanzaa Event
________________________________________

Kwanzaa Celebration at Brentwood Library
When:
Sunday, December 9 at 2 p.m.-3 p.m.
Age Group:
All Ages
How Much
: Free
Where
: Brentwood Library, 34 Second Avenue, Brentwood, NY 11717
Website: Brentwood Public Library
________________________________________

Kwanzaa Celebration at Suffolk Community College
When
: Thursday, December 13 at 6 p.m.
Age Group:
All ages
How Much:
Free
Where:
Suffolk Community College, Brentwood Campus, Van Nostrand Theatre, 1001 Crooked Hill Rd., Brentwood, NY 11717
Website
: Kwanzaa Celebration at SCC

 

By Jessica Cerniglia

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