It’s true. Forget those Christian-centric stores who feel the need to roll out Christmas tunes and trees the moment that Halloween ends — Hanukkah, this year, starts on December 8. To a procrastinator like myself, that’s basically the equivalent of a pop quiz. Instead of having three or four weeks from the beginning of December in order to start looking for gifts and planning parties, we get eight measly days. That’s barely the length of Hanukkah itself.*
On the other hand: I work for a Jewish website, if you haven’t noticed. Which means that, as soon as Simchat Torah’s over, we whip out the dreidels and start hanging up the blue-and-silver tassel.
And seemingly innocuous press releases start taking on entire new significance. For instance, a release for a band called Lights, whose new CD — titled, incidentally, Rites — features a song called “Fire Dance.” Craving new Hanukkah-related content like a blood-starved lout, I loaded up the music video. To my surprise, two things happened:
1) It had nothing to do with Hanukkah.
2) It was actually a pretty amazingly tight song.
I’m not sure if any of Lights’ members are Jewish — judging from their ABBA-like band photos, maybe not — but that doesn’t mean their fat-funk psychedelia isn’t perfect for the Festival of Lights. It’s the kind of revolution that it isn’t hard to imagine the Maccabees planning — festive, brilliant, brightly-colored and full of holy chutzpah.
* — ok, no, it’s exactly the length of Hanukkah. Even less time. Proves my point.
Pronounced: KHAH-nuh-kah, also ha-new-KAH, an eight-day festival commemorating the Maccabees’ victory over the Greeks and subsequent rededication of the temple. Falls in the Hebrew month of Kislev, which usually corresponds with December.