Santa Claus in Haifa (Archive photo)
Photo: Nadav Feldman

Hanukkah and Santa Claus

Russian immigrants find it hard to part with romantic scenes of Christmas; while Israelis celebrate Hanukkah, they decorate their homes with Christmas trees

While veteran Israeli citizens are busy stuffing themselves with sufganiyot, lighting Hanukkah candles and taking their kids to see the lavish holiday performances, Russian new immigrants are also busy preparing for the New Year. Along with the Hanukkah candles many have purchased Christmas trees.


The new immigrants say their acts have nothing to do with Christian holidays, but rather in maintaining a tradition they brought with them from overseas, namely to celebrate the civilian new year.


However, they do not suffice with standard New Year celebrations such as food and dance, which has long become a custom among Israelis as well. They also incorporate classic Christian elements such as Christmas trees and Santa Claus costumes.


The New Year is only due in two weeks times, however the Russian community has been flocking to New Year performances for children, some of which have come especially from abroad.


Although, most of the youngsters were born in Israel and many have never even seen snow before, their parents dwell on their own childhood memories and insist on taking their children to performances such as Ded Moroz and Snegurochka, the Russian version of Santa Claus.


Children are handed gifts under the Christmas tree even if they happen to come from kosher Jewish families. Those who wish can also invite Santa to their homes.


This year at the Kadima party home in Haifa, they decided to adopt the local Christmas spirit, and on Wednesday upon the lighting of the fourth Hanukkah candle, they will also light the lights on the Christmas tree.


פרסום ראשון: 12.19.06, 22:27
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