The Rabbis would have you treat Sukkot, the fall festival, as the biggest festival in the Jewish year, but frankly, Hanukkah’s better. And here’s why.
- You don’t have to build a Sukkah at Hanukkah. Even if you’re a kid, that means standing around, holding the sides while Dad takes the hammer and tries not to swear etc etc. For Hanukkah, you just take over the dining room.
- No Coyotes, spiders, crickets, or other wild animals. Sukkot is celebrated outside. There are animals that sometimes join you for the fun. This can be not so much fun.
- Central heating. For Sukkot, you’re outside in the cold and rain (Indianapolis in October is pretty cold and rainy). For Hanukkah, you’re inside. You put the Hanukkiah in the window, but you get to be on the inside of the closed window.
- The color scheme. Sukkot is all about leftover Rosh Hashanah cards and fall colors. Hanukkah is blue and white. Reminds us of Israel. Very cool looking.
- The food. I don’t know what the traditional Sukkot food is. We’ve found more success with hot cider and stew. Is there any universe in which cider and stew tastes better than latkes and jelly donuts (gluten free of course)?
- The candles. Leaving out Shabbat candles since Shabbat occurs during both holidays, for sukkot, you get at most 6 festival candles. 2 each the first two days and the last day. Hanukkah, you get 44. Simple math. 44 > 6.
- The candy. Dreidl is admittedly a stupid game, especially if played for money, but we always play it for jelly beans or skittles (on meat nights) and M&Ms, Reese’s pieces, and jelly beans and Skittles on dairy nights. You spin, you win, you lose, you eat some candy. You lose your stake? You take some more candy. You eat your stake? Take some more candy.
- The envy. Sukkot maybe conflicts with Columbus Day. So what. Hanukkah outshines Christmas, at least in those Christian kids’ imaginations. Those Christian kids don’t know exactly what you’re doing for Hanukkah, but first of all, usually you get to start it sooner than December 25th and second of all, while there used to be 12 days of Christmas, now there’s only about 1 or 2, maybe 3 depending on how spread out or how amicable your relatives are. Hanukkah has 8 days. This has to be the best.
Wishing everyone the best holidays this year, whichever you prefer,