I get a lot of questions this time of year about our holiday traditions. Questions like “You have a Christmas tree? Aren’t you Jewish?” and “If you don’t celebrate Christmas, when do you open presents?” Since Hanukkah begins tomorrow (and so does my birthday!) I figured this is the perfect time to tell you guys all about our crazy Russian-Jewish-Canadian mish mash of Hanukkah-Christmas-New Year’s holiday season. So here is a glimpse into our whirlwind Chrismukkah holiday traditions.
This December will be our third winter living in California. This will be the third year that we will be travelling back to Toronto for a real winter and to spend the holidays with our friends and family. It will have been a whole year since we’ve been back and I can’t see everyone! I always think I’ll have plenty of time to catch up with everybody but once we’re there, time just goes by so fast and it’s never enough (isn’t it always the case when you’re having fun?). One thing I definitely don’t have time for when we’re there is shopping for gifts. We will be arriving in Toronto just a few days before xmas and the last thing I want to do then is brave the malls.
As this week wraps up, so does my parents’ too-short visit to sunny California. Being away from them has been one of the hardest parts of living here. My parents are amazing people, amazing parents and amazing grandparents to my kids. I love seeing my girls interact with them and the happiness on my parents’ faces at the wonders that are their grandkids. I love having them around and whenever they visit they are incredibly helpful to me as well. I got to sleep in until 9am this morning and when I got up the kids were fed and the breakfast dishes were done. In fact, now that I think about it, I haven’t done the dishes this whole week!
This weekend is our Booboo’s first birthday (post on that coming up). It will also be Canadian thanksgiving this weekend and I have so much to be thankful for.
This evening the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashana started. It is the Jewish New Year. It lasts for 3 days and is followed by Yom Kippur 10 days later, which is much more serious.
My family is not religious but I love holidays because I love special themed holiday food and family gatherings. Rosh Hashana foods are delicious and full of symbolism. Here are my favourites:
There is a Soviet comedy called “The Diamond Arm” (a quick google check says it was released in 1969) which my parents watched a few times in my childhood. I guess since this movie is actually from their own childhoods, it was a feel-good nostalgic movie to watch.
From what I can remember (which isn’t much) it’s about a band of thieves who try to smuggles jewels using a cast on someone’s arm. They Accidentally end up putting the cast on an unsuspecting citizen instead of a fellow thief. The rest of the movie is about how these thieves are trying to get this guy’s cast without being outed and how this regular Joe is correcting and teaching the thieves how to behave and speak properly. This is the part that I always remember best from the movie. They kept calling each other “Radish” (ridiska) as an insult and at one point Joe Regular corrected them that instead of the slang “radish” they should say “bad person”. [Read more…]