The Festival of Lights has begun! A glorious holiday, Hanukkah celebrates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and the miracle of the container of oil.
Since I grew up in a Catholic home, I knew a little about Hanukkah but not very much. A Jewish family lived up the street from us, and would always place a large menorah in their front yard. Each night my sisters and I would wait and watch as the family would light a new candle.
I was about 10 years old when I walked up to my neighbor and asked him why he didn’t leave out his “Christmas candles” the whole month of December. My neighbor hunched down on his knees and smiled. He explained to me that his “Christmas candles” were actually Hanukkah candles, and that they could only be out for eight days.
I was a little confused about exactly what Hanukkah was, and why there were no angels or baby Jesus, but I was too young to get into specifics. I then asked my neighbor if he had a Christmas tree or if he made Christmas cookies with his kids. He laughed and said he didn’t have a Christmas tree, but he did make some delicious cookies called rugalach with his children.
Quickly, he ran inside his house and returned with a bight blue tin filled with cookies. He opened the box and a sweet, buttery aroma flowed out. I peeked inside. Like delicate flowers, the cookies were nestled between layers of parchment paper. I reached in and carefully took a bite. A rich, nutty taste filled my mouth. These cookies were heaven.
Ever since that afternoon when I learned about Hanukkah, I’ve enjoyed eating rugalach during the holidays. It’s a sweet tradition that reminds me of my neighbor and his “Christmas candles.”
Get this Recipe: Raspberry Chocolate Rugalach
You Might Also Like