Hanukkah has always been a fun holiday celebrated quickly when coming home from school or, later, work. It was fun to sit down with my family, and sometimes a couple extra guests, to light the candles and hand out small gifts each night. From 2009 through 2011 I lived in Washington, DC. In this city I was friends with a lot of Jewish people that liked hosting their friends and lots of people that knew nothing about the Judaic celebrations.
The first night of Hanukkah 2010 fell on a Wednesday. Since, all my Jewish friends were having quiet nights at home, saving big celebrations for the weekend. I decided, instead of spending this night alone to have a small gathering at my house. This just happened to be, unanimously, a first Hanukkah celebration for all of my guests.
My house in DC, shared by 5 people at the time, had a wonderful circular layout on the first floor that was really nice for entertaining. It also made it easy to clean, as one could start with sweeping, move around the circle back to the kitchen and pick up the next cleaning instrument. My roommate and I would sort of tag team the tasks following each other round the circle sweeping, vacuuming, mopping, and dusting. On one go around, I placed the menorah, near the front window, with the shamash and a candle for the first night, as is customary, and continued around the circle.
On my next go around I realized the whole thing had been filled up with candles and placed in the middle of the dining room table. I moved it back to the window and took the extra candles back out. This happened three times around before my roommate caught me taking the candles again and asked if there was some sort of cultural reference he was missing here. We laughed for quite a while and I was able to eventually explain the significance of the candles. As the night went on I explained a few more details about the holiday. Eventually I resorted to playing a very catchy video that went viral that year and reading a couple cleaver modern pieces of literature to kindheartedly explain the story and latke binge.
The Maccabeats and my friend Craig Fifer have produced very original creative ways of explaining the reason for the celebration of Hanukkah. It seems the Maccabeats have decided that each year we should have a music video full of split screen animation and beautiful singing of lyrics that get stuck in your head. Craig, for the last 3 years has produced a crafty short ‘poem’ about the history and modern celebration. Without further ado here is a video from some former Maccabeats (for all the Maccabeats videos visit their channel) and a Limerick from Craig about the coming eight (un)crazy nights.
There once was a king who refused
To let us worship as we choosed,
So we won a great fight, and the oil lasted eight nights,
and now we eat because, well, we’re Jews.
For more about the history of Hanukkah one may start at wikipedia and venture through the internet from there. If you enjoyed the animation of the newest Maccabeats split screen video, check out our how-to video about split screen or picture in picture video animations and get started on your own multiple cam animation project.