With less than a week to go for Hanukkah, I was brimming with excitement and anxiousness as I had planned something super special for my family to welcome the festival of lights with a nine day activity involving dedication and commitment from each one of my dear ones. After much thought and debate I felt this 9 day activity with all my close ones would deepen the meaning of this festival and also create a special bond amongst everyone.
So here I am sharing with you all, my dear readers what I plan to do during the Hanukkah week along with lighting the menorah each day.
- ‘Lights will guide us home’ – This phrase is better known as ‘Lights will guide you home’ from the song ‘Fix You’ by one of my favourite bands, Coldplay. On the first day I am going to ask everyone to bring an object, poem, story, an idea or anything which has brought the pleasure of light into their life or can bring light of hope and happiness in someone else’s life. It would be interesting to see what each person gets!
- Food tastes better with your loved ones – Don’t you all agree? The sheer happiness of having some scrumptious food on the table and eating it with family is happiness on its own. As the tradition goes, fried food such as Latkes (Potato pancakes), Sufganiyot (Sweet Jam filled doughnuts) and eating dairy products especially cheese is popular. A Potluck dinner is what I have in mind, I felt each family member cooking something with love for other family members would make the occasion even sweeter. The involvement of each person, adding their personal touch to the food cooked by them would truly help us bond on a different level
- Soulful Existence – While I was brainstorming on what are the things we, as a family can do on these nine days, it struck me as to how spiritually alive and vital are we? Whether it’s individually or as a family. I felt it necessary for us as a family to have an open discussion and make a list of things on what we can do individually and as a family for a more alive and soulful existence.
- Creating Memories for a lifetime – Most of my family members I know are quite inexpressive or shy to speak about anything in a family get together. On one of the nights, I would ask everyone to come prepared to talk about anything they want to, whether it is a suffering, loss of a loved one, a happy story, or a problem that they might be going through. When I was in college, one of our professors made us do this exercise, video recorded every speaker and a week later gave us the recording of the entire activity. When I look back at this memory, it gives me a sense of achievement that I was able to talk about something without any inhibitions, it also made me realise what other people go through in their lives and to pray and bless everyone. I would love to see all my family members come out of their comfort zones and speak their heart out and at the end light a candle with a special blessing for every member. I plan to record this too and give copies the next year as Hanukkah gifts to those who attended, as well as family who couldn’t make it. Done each year, this will result in a rich treasure chest of family memories.
- Bring Light into someone’s life – When we go out of our way to help someone, god blesses us too. I felt as a family we help someone who is facing life’s adversities and bless them by lighting our menorah for them. I would urge all the children in my family to help with blessings and decisions on this day as it is very important for them understand the importance of helping others.
I hope my plan for the nine day activity interests you and motivates you to do the same with your family. As for me I have already notified my family members about the same and have received an amazing response from a majority of them! I truly hope it materializes well and we can celebrate togetherness and happiness this Hanukkah!
Wishing you all a Soulful Happy Hanukkah!