Dec 16

Holiday Traditions – Celebrating Hanukkah

Holiday Traditions – Celebrating Hanukkah

Guest Post: Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah! Our friend and writer extraordinaire, Maria Zilberman, let us in on how her family celebrates.


Tis the day before Hanukkah and for my family, that means a push to finish putting up the lights! Following suit with one of our neighbors, my family began decking the house in blue several years ago. These days, there’s a wide collection of glowing blue objects – traditional string lights and large 3D shapes – waiting to get dusted off every year.

Inside, the youngest child would always light the menorah – as soon as we could find it. The candelabra of the Jewish Festival of Lights, many hours were spent each year scratching our heads and searching our cupboards, trying to find where, exactly, we had stored the thing. Once someone managed to track down the velvet case we kept it in, it was time to let the real fun start: cooking.


As with most holidays, food played a central role and nothing felt like Hanukkah more than grating potatoes and frying them up into latkes. Our family topped these crispy potato pancakes with sour cream and applesauce, and this sweet and savory deep-fried pairing made for one of my favorite ­­meals of the year.

In fact, it was so good that no matter how full I was, I was ready to do it again for seven more nights.


Maria Zilberman is a Belarus-born, Baltimore-raised writer. She’s worked in newsrooms, on construction sites, and these days spends most of her time at a museum.