Hanukkah is celebrated to commemorate the victory of Maccabees, led by Judah, over the Hellenistic Syrians. The main ritual of the festival is the lighting of the special Menorah or Hanukiah, the nine branched candle stand. Music and songs also form integral part of the celebration. For instance, people recite poems written by some popular poets or write them on the cards, which they share among their friends and relatives. The poems can be serious in nature, as in dwelling on the history of the festival as well as light, say when they are written from a child’s perspective. In any case, they aptly convey the mood and spirit of the festival.
'Happy Hanukkah' by Eva Grant is one such sweet poem of the festival. Here, the poet brings out the main elements of the Hanukkah celebration in simple and poignant lines. The poem has an original winter setting, with the swift snow fall outside. The introduction of the wintry snowfall itself sets the mood of the poem. Thereafter, it depicts the overall atmosphere prevailing during the festival. The poet visualizes children assembling in a circle and listening to the brave stories of Maccabees. He continues with the imagery of pancakes sizzling in the kitchen. The poem ends with the imagery of gifts lying down wrapped in attractive papers and waiting to be opened.
Outside, snow is slowly, softly
Falling through the wintry night.
In the house, the brass menorah
Sparkles with the candlelight.
Children in a circle listen
To the wondrous stories told,
Of the daring Maccabeans
And the miracles of old.
In the kitchen, pancakes sizzle,
Turning brown, they'll soon be done.
Gifts are waiting to be opened,
Happy Hanukkah's begun