Tuesday, December 1, 2009

"Tradition, Tradition!"

I'm a sucker for traditions - those that span the generations and those that are new but quickly become ingrained for future generations.

With Chanukah fast approaching, my thoughts turn once again towards ways to enhance the beauty of the days and to create lasting, warm memories.

I once read somewhere about a family who got together each year and the table was initially set the first year with a simple plain white cloth. Each guest, young and old, was invited to autograph the cloth at their seat. The hostess then embroidered over the signatures using a single color thread and then embroidered the year on one corner of the cloth in the same color thread. This practice was repeated annually, only a different thread color was used every time.
Over time, signatures changed (and matured). The seating arrangements shifted, and a priceless family heirloom was created in the process.
I've always imagined doing this with my own family, but since I appear to be handicapped when it comes to needlework of any kind, it never came to pass... (of course I'll always have my treasured linen closet door...)

I'm curious as to your family traditions, specifically those relating to Chanukah.
I'd love to try some of them out and incorporate them into my own family.


Jron said...

Latkes, definitely Latkes. Although with the passing years (and the need to avoid extra carbs), I tend to make them less often and less plentiful. But we all still fondly recall Opa's famous line "I didn't say there was anything wrong with my stomach!"

Yekkishe Bekishe said...

The last night of Chanukah, I mark down the year in the booklet I use for the Brachos, Haneros Halalu etc. It has over 30 years marked in it!

Baked Lecho Dodi said...

We imitate Chazon Frankel z'l

G6 said...

How do you do that?
The only authentic way to imitate him on Chanukah is to recite the brochos over the candles while witnessing somebody steal your overcoat and not flinch. :D

yekkishandyeshivish said...

We've always lit small eight branched candelabras called "menorahs". In our family only male members lit ( unless young female members had made a project in school). We light one candle the first night and then one additional candle every other night for a total eight nights. We also light one extra candle, to use for lighting and for reading since we have a tradition not to "use" the lights. We sing some songs about the lights and historical triumphs of the Jewish people and usually enjoy very oily foods

G6 said...

Y&Y -
What!? No dreidel????

efrex said...

In deference to my grandfather's advice to us to "always argue," The Lovely Wife(tm) and I use the chag as a springboard for several long-standing debates: applesauce vs. sour cream as latke condiment, caramel vs. raspberry sufganiyot, and the inclusion and wording of the last verse in Maoz Tzur.

If we happen to be visiting particular friends, there will almost certainly be an impromptu off-key performance of Tom Lehrer's "Hanukah in Santa Monica" as well.

ProfK said...

Traditionally get both sides of the family together, although separately thanks to the growth in size (about 90 people this year between the two sides). Anything and everything fried, beginning and ending with latkes. We also sing Haneros Halolu with all the traditional niggunim from hubby's and my side--can take 25 minutes.

Dreidle for sure and kvitlach also.

aN Dy said...

we fight over the oiliest latke....for some reason my sister always wins the fight.

Mikeinmidwood said...

Well this year I'm keeping my tradition of going around to try all the sufganiot in brooklyn, so far the best is strauss's bakery in boro park.

frumcollegegirl said...

chanuka stickers on the windows and screen door

G6 said...

You reminded me of the cardstock dreidel cutouts I made with a "certain 2 year old playgroup" nearly 20 years back that I STILL HANG on my front door every Chanukah! (never mind that half the glitter has long since fallen off)

Staying Afloat said...

Two words:

Dreidel Poker.

G6 said...

Staying Afloat -
I'm coming to YOUR house.

Does anybody out there still play "Gotte Sege by Cohn" (sp.)??