Sunday, November 28, 2021

First Day of Advent & Hanukkah

Today is both the first day of Advent and the first day of Hanukkah.  Czechland is often described as one of the world's most atheistic countries.  I'm not hundred percent sure on the numbers but it's something like 75-80% of Czechs don't declare a religious faith in surveys or the census.  As far as atheism goes, Czechs are third in the world at 30%, behind China and Japan.  

Religion just isn't a big part of daily life here.  It's definitely not like in Poland where some 88% of the country identifies as Roman Catholic and the church is very much a part of the national identity.

Advent marks the countdown to Christmas.  It begins four Sundays before 25 December.  In most of Central Europe, Christmas is 24 December followed by the second day of Christmas and St. Stephen's Day.

Two different ways of counting down to Christmas are Advent wreaths and Advent calendars.  For the wreath, you light a new candle each of the four Sundays prior to Christmas.  This is what I'm doing this year because I won't put up a Christmas tree since I'll spend Christmas in Berlin again this year.

For kids, and many adults, Advent calendars are more fun.  Every day of December you eat a piece of chocolate.  I still send Advent calendars to my niece and nephew in California each year.

Claudia does her own version of an Advent calendar with Tünde.  Each day in December, Tünde unwraps a book.  Some are new books and some are Christmas themed books that are reused each year.

Hanukkah, or the Festival of Lights, is a Jewish holiday that celebrates the recovery of Jerusalem and the rededication of the Second Temple.  Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days and candles are lit on a menorah.

It's not that uncommon in California for there to be mixed families where some member are Christian and some are Jewish so both holidays are celebrated.  Sometimes it's called Christmakkah or Hanumas.  This year Hanukkah began today at sundown.  

Happy Hanukkah and Happy First Advent Sunday!

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