The Scamp’s First Hanukkah in Scotland

I may have to marry Stuart the FedEx guy. Today he brought me a box with my menorah in it. I forgot to have my mom bring it with her when she came to visit a couple of weeks ago, and I was worried that this would be the first year that I did not light candles.

My mother came to the rescue though. She sent it with a box of presents, and it arrived today, night three of Hanukkah.

So what is Hanukkah, you ask? Well, here is the BBC’s short and sweet version. The festival reminds Jews of a time over 2500 years ago when the Jews won a battle against the Greeks to practice their religion freely. The Greeks had banned all Jewish rituals. To celebrate, an oil lamp was lit in a Jewish temple. There was only enough oil to burn for one day – but miraculously it burned for eight days.

This is why the Hanukkah festival lasts for eight days and why light is really important in the celebration. With that in mind, not having my menorah with me was devastating. The first two days when the sun was setting I improvised with pictures from the internet. There is a very very very small number of Jewish people in Scotland, so it is not like I could just go out and buy another one.

But that’s what you do on an adventure; you improvise.

After I got the box I set out on a quest to find candles that fit my menorah. Let me tell you, it was actually easier than I thought it would be. I went to the grocery store first, assuming that they might have something. I took the menorah with me and looked really really really silly in the store trying to see if the selection of candles they had would fit the menorah. None of the traditional candles would work, and the birthday cake candles they had were way too skinny. I moved on to the PoundLand, and as luck would have it, the birthday candles they sell are just the right size!

I loved it. I’m sure I got a lot of funny looks while I was going about this whole process, but I am happy for that little bit of comfort and little bit of tradition that I get to keep here. I know that in a few years I will be smart enough to order candles off the internet and I will laugh at the way I had to piece together my first Hanukkah. I was going to try and make latkas, but I am still a little too traumatized from the slow cooker the other night.

I think that is something for night 8 when I have fully recovered.

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