Happy Hanuka!

Hanuka isn’t going to be celebrated for a month, but today is the day Hanuka would fall on if the Hebrew calendar weren’t used, and instead we used the Gregorian calendar, as the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev in 164 BCE fell on November 21.

Of course, Pope Gregory hadn’t been born yet in 164 BCE. (Jesus hadn’t been born yet.) Not only was there no such thing as the Gregorian calendar, Julius Caesar hadn’t invented the Julian Calendar yet.

Moreover, the Hebrew calendar wasn’t standardized yet. Each Hebrew month began after two people declared they saw the crescent moon. (So two different communities could be slightly off from one another, but each month there was a reboot.)

So November 21 is an estimate. The 25th of Kislev is an estimate too.

My favorite spellings of the word

Since the only proper spelling is with the appropriate Hebrew letters, any transliteration into the alphabet of a different language is personal choice, and should be based phonetically. I have seen others use these spellings – I didn’t invent any of them myself.

1) Hanuka – short, simple, and to the point.
2) Januca – a Spanish spelling. In Spanish, the inital-H sound is spelled with a J – as in Jalapeno.
3) Khanike – “KH” is a far better representation of the hard H sound than “CH”. This spelling also reminds people that vowel sounds aren’t universally agreed upon with Hebrew words.

There are other reasons to celebrate November 21, I am certain. But none could possibly be better than the Gregorian Calendar Hanuka, could it?

0 thoughts on “Happy Hanuka!

  1. Kathy

    Thank you for giving me a good Jewish reason to take a half day of vacation from my Jewish place of employment.

    I Like it even though I was doing it anyway ­čÖé

    Reply

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