GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICALS
Number 594 • December 16, 2020
HANUKKAH IS NOT “JEWISH CHRISTMAS”
This year, 2020, Hanukkah was celebrated December 8–16. It actually begins on 25 Kislev, the ninth month of the ancient Hebrew/Jewish calendar. It often occurs in late November to mid-December of the Gregorian calendar which is in common use today. Because of its proximity to the traditional Christmas celebration it is sometimes mistakenly viewed (by non-Jews, but not by Jews) as a Jewish form of Christmas. Incidentally, the same thing happens with Kwanzaa, which is not a “Black Christmas” or “African Christmas.” Neither Hanukkah nor Kwanzaa have anything to do with Christ or Christianity. Kwanzaa is not overtly religious at all but is only a cultural celebration of black (particularly African) history and ethnicity (you will have to research Kwanzaa on your own – this essay is about Hanukkah). Because Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday some assume it has something to do with Judeo-Christian religion and may be a Jewish nod to the birth of Jesus, called the Messiah/Christ. But it is not so.
How does Hanukkah differ from Christmas in God’s estimation and approval? It may surprise you to know that neither Hanukkah nor Christmas were established by God as genuine feast/festival days to be observed in religion – as compared with Passover, Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), or even Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year). Continue reading