Why Chanukah totally sucked

The Bay's best newsletter for underground events & news

Well, folks, as we all slowly but surely come out of our yearly holiday paralysis and stop procrastinating (yes, it’s a “we,” if I’m morally implicating myself, you and everyone else is going down with me) and pretending like reading articles on the internet is journalistic research, the time comes to re-evaluate all that has happened. We (barely) survived 2016, a year that so many people hated, in the end, it actually became too mainstream to hate, so everyone ended up liking it again at 11:59, right before getting hit in the eyeball with a flying champagne cork (serves them right, poseurs). We ate a lot of food for Christmas, and, as usual, were able to vicariously enjoy gifts that weren’t even given to us by laughing at people (two years ago it was laughing at people falling off “balance scooters” (i.e. half-built segways) and this year, it’s been warmly chuckling at seeing people walking around looking for their lost drones.

We did take one remnant of the 365 days of poop that was 2016 into the new year, a holiday which started on the 24th of December and ended on the 1st of January: Chanukah.

Photo Credit: slgckgc Flickr via Compfight cc

But that wasn’t bad at all, you may say. Presents, and lights and family, you may offer. However, I am grumpy today, and I get to complain about whatever I want, and I am going to use my time to tell you the eight reasons I could have done without Chanuka this year.

Chanuka, indeed, lasts eight days, and it celebrates a time long ago when the Jewish people, as legend has it, were forced to convert to Hellenism (ancient Greek religion – you know, Zeus and such). The baddy in this story was Antiochus Epiphanes, the Seleucid king of the Hellenistic Syrian kingdom, and the good guys were the family of Hasmoneans, or Maccabees. As the story goes, Judah Maccabee won the war against all odds and reclaimed the temple that had been taken by the Syrian-Greeks. They re-lit the everlasting flame (or the ner tamid) but alas, only had one jar of oil as opposed to more than one. No! So, they sent a dude (I use this word flippantly, but it was 168 B.C.E, so it was most definitely a dude) to find more oil, he took eight days to come back, but the one jar of oil had miraculously lasted the whole time. Hanuka doesn’t always fall on the day before Christmas – judaism follows a unique calendar which is neither lunar nor solar but ini fact lunisolar (because simplicity). Because of this, the date Hanukkah falls on varies. But its suckiness persists, constant as ever. Why, you may ask? Well…

Photo Credit: slgckgc Flickr via Compfight cc
  • It comes from last year and it more or less rang in the new year. That alone is enough to want to run it over with a steamroller.
Photo Credit: elibrody Flickr via Compfight cc
  • No-one actually knows how to spell the damn thing, leaving us (remember, we are in this together) with a lingering unwillingness to write anything involving that word, which is why nobody gets Chanukka cards from you or thank you notes. It is a grammar nazi’s worst nightmare. There are apparently 16 (SIXTEEN) ways to spell it, varying on whether it gets a ‘ch’ or an ‘h’ at the beginning, a double ‘n’ or a single ‘n’, a double ‘k’ or a single ‘k’, an ‘at the end or not, and even (apparently, according to the internet) Chanuqa and Xanuka. Although, if we’re taking into account a ‘q’ and an ‘x’ the options could be even more…
Photo Credit: miheco Flickr via Compfight cc
  • People get kind of awkward about it. Many are the times when people have joyfully wished me a merry christmas with a bounce in their step and a glow in their cheeks (although I think now that maybe that was alcohol as opposed to the Christmas spirit) and then, remembering or finding out that I’m Jewish, been like “Oooooohhhhnooooo I mean uhm…I guess…..Happy Xanuqkah?” as if they feel terrible for even reminding me that it’s Christmas, because I don’t get to celebrate it and I’m all alone. Well, jokes on you suckers, ’cause even though I am (always) alone, I grew up celebrating both holidays! Nine days of presents yo!
Photo Credit: Shoshanah Flickr via Compfight cc
  • Oh, did I mention that (in the US at least) you get presents at Chanukah? But there’s no magic to it. Yes, ok, you celebrate some oil lasting a long time at an age that I could barely even comprehend fire being lit with oil (I can’t even imagine this generation’s kids), but that’s about it – that is to say, there’s no Santa. No mythical man to bring you presents, just your parents, so instead of building up a lie that will eventually break your child’s world, you are just taught to appreciate your family. Ugh. Actually, I think there’s a thing called “Hannukah Harry” but it sounds so terrible that i don’t even want to google it to know what it is.
ps. Mom and Dad, your guys’ presents are the best. I am only selling you out for comedy <3
Photo Credit: mistersnappy Flickr via Compfight cc
  • Chanuqahh is also lacking in some movies. The website Bustle seriously suggests watching either just movies made by Jewish people, TV shows, or even just Christmas movies (albeit the best Christmas movie of all time). Don’t beat yourself up Bustle, you did what you could given the material we have, which is mainly Adam Sandler cartoons and one movie called The Hebrew Hammer.
Photo Credit: Israel_photo_gallery Flickr via Compfight cc
  • While Jewish people historically eat Chinese food on Christmas eve, we don’t really have much of a menu on our actual holiday. It looks like we used to have goose, which would have been bomb because when on earth else do you get the excuse to eat goose anymore?! But no, the only remnant we have of this is frying things in the absent bird’s fat, most notably potato pancakes (latkes) and jelly doughnuts. These things are of course awesome, but maybe not eight nights in a row, and together with chocolate gold-wrapped coins (or gelt), it doesn’t really make that satisfying of a meal.
Photo Credit: moonlightbulb Flickr via Compfight cc Photo Credit: slgckgc Flickr via Compfight cc
  • If you don’t burn your face off making latkes, you will probably spill hot wax on yourself trying to light the candles. Usually, the candles don’t fit the menorah (or hannukiah), the eight-armed candelabra properly. Either they are too big, which is ok because you can just whittle the base down with a spoon like you’re making a shank (this is also a good party trick…knowing how to adjust the size of a candle, not how to make a shank). The crappier option is that the candle could be too small, in which case you kind of just try to get it to stick and cross every limb and appendage you have that one candle won’t tip over and burn you alive.
Photo Credit: slgckgc Flickr via Compfight cc
  • I am really bad at playing dreidel, the top that you spin on Chanuka to gamble chocolate gold coins, or gelt. Therefore, it sucks. But if somebody can teach me to cheat and count spins or whatever you do at dreidel, I will recant this entire post. Any takers?
Photo Credit: Karin Lewis (Bookatz) Flickr via Compfight cc
Like this article? Make sure to sign up for our mailing list so you never miss a goddamn thing!
Previous post

We wanna send you to see John Paul White of the Civil Wars!

Next post

Brooklyn’s Morbid Anatomy Museum Dies A Grisly Death

Rae Bathgate - Down and Out and Overseas

Rae Bathgate - Down and Out and Overseas

Rae, known also (depending on the country) as Rachelle/Raquel/ Rachele (and often sadly mistaken as Richard, because biblical names are hard you guys) is an aspiring writer and now sort of a dick for having actually defined herself as such. She was born and lived over the first half of her life in Italy; she then moved to the States and lived a good ten years there (including in SF). Currently back in Europe, she is neither a hapless American tourist nor a snobby European jerkyjerk; luckily for you, she is some weird ungodly combination of both. Also, she’s broke and is probably stealing bread crumbs from pigeons.