Advent, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa

At our local library, Anna Porter Public Library in Gatlinburg, about three weeks ago, we participated in a workshop explaining the three main holidays celebrated in December: Advent (Christmas), Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. This post should have been written about three weeks ago, but such is life. A homeschooling blogger can only do so much through the holiday season.

Hanukkah Workshop

Ms. Ethel lighting Hanukkah candles

Ms. Ethel, our children’s librarian for years, retired at the end of 2015, so this workshop, her last, was special. With her Jewish heritage, Ms. Ethel was able to give us a Hanukkah prayer in Hebrew as she lit the Hanukkah candles. I picked up on the words Elohim and Mitzvah but not much else. I’m afraid Hebrew has never been a language I studied beyond looking up specific Old Testament terms in Strong’s Concordance, which, incidentally, can be a rewarding experience.

Advent wreath and candles next to a Hanukkah Menorah

Advent wreath and candles next to a Hanukkah Menorah

She spent a few minutes explaining how each of the three holidays came to be and how they are celebrated. If you can stand to read the words “you know” in every sentence, from a university professor, nonetheless, then you can read a transcript of an NPR interview about how many people still celebrate Kwanzaa.

Kwanzaa symbols and candles

Kwanzaa symbols and candles

The kids played dreidel (after a brief introduction of the game) and then we all enjoyed Christmas cookies, yam pie and apple cider. Yum!

My proud moment of the night came when my five-year-old recognized the dreidel and said, “Mommy, this is like the one we made for history…”

Sure enough, we had put together a dreidel for one of our history of the Jewish people lessons. I was delighted that she remembered, especially since that lesson was last year, in the first volume of The Story of the World. So all this exposure to historical data pays off. It shall not return unto me void. That’s all a homeschooling mom hopes for.

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