Family traditions almost always come from somewhere. Don’t get me wrong, there are certainly some things that only my family does because we randomly made it up and started doing it each year. I am sure many of you have a good selection of both kinds of traditions. Traditions keep us connected to our roots so we will always remember where we come from and who we are.
My family does a few things every year on Christmas. The one tradition that goes back almost 2,000 years is receiving Hanukkah gelt (meaning money). Sounds kind of like a contradiction. Hanukkah gelt on Christmas; however it makes sense for us. My grandmother is and my grandfather was Jewish. My father at one point was also Jewish, but years before he met my mother, he converted to Christianity with the help of his best friend, who still remains to be so today. My mother and father brought my brothers, sister and I up in the traditional Lutheran church and have ever since all been a Christian family. However, I have participated in Hanukkah, Passover and other Jewish traditions. One of those being the receiving of Hanukkah gelt. Each year on Christmas day, my dad hangs 4 little bags of golden chocolate coins for each of us kids. This tradition always reminds us of our Jewish heritage as well as of the history behind it.
The History… Abridged Version
In 142 B.C.E. Mattathias, son of Simon of Maccabee finally brought independence to Judea. This allowed the Jewish people the ability to mint their own coins. The coins were issued with the menorah on one side and the Table of Shew bread on the other, symbols of the restored Temple. In 70 C.E. the Temple was again destroyed and Jewish coinage was no longer used, therefore making it difficult to renew the custom of Hanukkah gelt-giving during the Middle Ages. The tradition was mainly used as a support system for Jewish teachers and then was expanded to include children as an educational tool. Israel finally became its own state in 1948, where in 1958 the Bank of Israel initiated a program to make special commemorative coins to use as Hanukkah gelt. Each year the Bank makes coins commemorating all the different Jewish communities. The Hanukkah gelt tradition lives on and can come in many forms including savings bonds, checks or even small chocolate coins.
Noteworthy Collections respects all religious celebrations and has created beautiful Hanukkah cards this year to help you celebrate yours. We know how important traditions are and we want to show you that we care about yours. For whatever you are in need of, be it invitation or holiday photo card, Noteworthy has you covered.
So as this magical month begins, remember to respect others’ beliefs and never forget about your family traditions. Not only have they shaped who we are and how we live, but they will shape your children’s lives as well. Noteworthy is a family owned company and we care just as much about yours. If you have any traditions of your own, we would love to hear about them!