Around Town

By: Mavis Hansen
December 13, 2012 • 366 views

Happy Holidays!  And to some,  Happy Hanukkah!    Hanukkah, sometimes spelled Chanukah, is also referred to as the Festival of Lights, the Feast of the Dedication and the Feast of Maccabees.  Whichever, Hanukkah is the eight day Jewish holiday of lights.  It begins on the night of the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev, usually sometime in December.  The holiday celebrates events that happened more than 2,000 years ago.  Today, in Jewish homes throughout the world, candles are lit on each of the eight nights of Hanukkah to commemorate the glorious military victory and the miracle of the oil.  The Hanukkah menorah is one of the primary symbols of the holiday.  It has nine branches with eight candles on one level and the ninth slightly higher.  The ninth candle is the shamash, the servant candle used to light the others.  On the first night, the shamash is used to light one candle placed in the far right of the menorah.  This candle and the shamash are allowed to burn until they are gone.  On the second night, two new candles are placed in the menorah, beginning with the far right, however, the order in which the new candles are lit is from left to right.This procedure is continued, adding one more candle each night, until the eighth night, when all eight candles are lit by the shamash.

Many people use menorahs that burn olive oil instead of candles, to remind them of the oil that burned in the temple, in Jerusalem when it was recaptured in 165 B.C.  The menorah is lit and usually placed in front of a window so that passerbys will see the lights and remember the miracles of Hanukkah. Each night, before the candles are lit, blessings are said and after the candles have been lit a Hebrew hymn is sung. Traditionally, Latkes (potato pancakes) are served and in Israel, sufganiyot (jelly donuts).  Both are fried in oil as a reminder of the miracle of the oil.

The El Monte Friend O’Garden Club held a Christmas party on Friday, December 7th at the home of President Rita Cazares, in Temple City, California. Rita’s home was decorated for the holidays, with lights and decorations outside, to greet you as you arrived and once inside beautifully decorated trees and many, many  ornaments and decorations everywhere you looked.   A pot-luck dinner was enjoyed by all, with chicken,turkey, ham, tamales, chile relleno casserole, beans, rice, salad, yams, a huge variety of desserts and wine, eggnog and punch.  A game of gift exchange was held.  David Siegrist brought his guitar and everyone joined in to sing Christmas Carols before the karaoke singing began.     El Monte Friend O’Garden Club will host the December 10, 2012 meeting of the Arboretum district of California Garden Clubs, Inc.  The Arboretum District meeting will be held in the Palm Room of the Los Angeles County Arboretum, 301 N. Baldwin Avenue, Arcadia, California.  Morning refreshments are served at 9:30 A.M. and the meeting begins at 10:00 A.M.  Arboretum District President is Shirley Stewart.   All garden club members and guests are welcome to attend.  There is no charge.

El Monte Family Adventure Shuttle will have a “Christmas Lights Tour of the beautiful Hasting Ranch” on Saturday, December 15, 2012.  Departure will be at 5:30 P.M. from the El Monte Trolley Station and conclude at 8:30 P.M.  Tickets may be purchased at the El Monte Trolly Station, 3650 Center Ave, El Monte. $5.oo per person.  Advance purchase of ticket is required, with last date for purchase December 13, 2012.  Children must be at least two years of age and must be accompanied by an adult at all times if under 12 years of age.  For further information contact the El Monte Public Works Department, Transportation Services Division at 626-580-2217.

So many fun things to do in this wonderful month of December.  Remember those who are not as fortunate.  Donate food, so that others will not go hungry, clothing and toys so that all children will have a MERRY CHRISTMAS.  See you soon, someplace AROUND TOWN

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