Photo essay: Away from home for the holidays

This year, Hanukkah falls on Nov. 28, ends on Dec. 6



The Star of David represents the Jewish religion and culture and is often featured on menorahs and hanukkiahs.


When people think of Christmas, they probably think of presents, cheery songs, Christmas trees and celebrating with their family. After all, Christmas is always on Dec. 25, so everyone knows they’ll have a break from school and work to celebrate it together. However, the same cannot be said for another winter holiday: Hanukkah.

On each night of Hanukkah, the “Shamash,” the center or raised candle, is lit and used to light the other candles.

Unlike Christmas, the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah does not fall at the same time of year every year. Though the eight-day celebration is always in winter, its start date is determined by the Jewish calendar, which doesn’t quite match up with the Gregorian calendar that almost all of us use. Because of this, Hanukkah regularly starts at a different time of year each year; back in 2013, the holiday even started on Thanksgiving Day and was given the nickname “Thanksgivukkah.”

This time around, the first night of Hanukkah falls on Nov. 28 and will end on Dec. 6. This, unfortunately, means that for those who celebrate it, doing so with family is essentially out of the question — after all, it falls just after Thanksgiving break and overlaps with a full week of classes.

Mechanical engineering junior Yanir Govrin said that, to him, Hanukkah is “a fun, relaxed holiday where you can spend time with family and friends — and eat some good food.” However, it’s difficult to celeberate it when he has to work around other responsibilities.

On each night of Hanukkah, an additional candle is lit, so the number of candles represent the night it is (excluding the Shamash, the center candle). Overall, 44 candles are lit throughout the Hanukkah celebration

Other students agree that celebrating Hanukkah away from home and during a school week will be difficult. Hannah Shapiro, senior wildlife ecology and conservation sciences major, said she’ll still be celebrating with friends and roommates. But her classes affect how she feels about the holiday since she has to attend classes or lab in the evenings. Candle lighting for Hanukkah is typically done at sundown each night.

Despite all this, Jewish students are still finding ways to celebrate the holiday with each other. It may not be as cozy as Christmas is this year, sitting in the Compton Union Building and cramming for exams instead of relaxing by the fire, but at least the students who can’t be home for the holiday can celebrate it with their WSU family instead.