Yesterday was "First Candle" which is the part of the Great Jewish Conspiracy when you light the first candle on the Channukia (or the special menorah for those not in the know, the regular menorah hangs out at synagouge and has seven branches instead of nine.) We eat fried foods and a dairy meal. The fried foods are a tie to the celebration of having enough oil to rededicate the desecrated Temple after the battle was over. (We lost that war by the way).The dairy meal is the echo of an older holiday that belongs to Judith, who prevented a war by means of assassination and saved many lives on both sides. (We won that war, so obviously we shouldn't celebrate it). The dreidel celebrated the secret code that was used during a later period of religious suppression when Jews were allowed to gamble but they weren't allowed to study. If you take books away from Jews, they will just start writing on any three dimensional object where they think they can get away with it. . . .
However - here in the Meat World version of the Dreamtime, First Candle is the official start of the Channuka Taunting.
It works like this - all presents are put out at the beginning of the eight night holiday, they are numbered and you have to open them in order. You get to study the unopened ones during the holiday. There is always a pattern or a theme to the presents and you have to figure it out. If you don't figure it out by the end of the holiday, I will tell you. There are good things involved in this. The kids know where the gifts come from, they know that the gifts have been thought of, sometimes for months in advance, and they have no idea what I will do each year. The theme is always about things they haven't asked for. One of my favorite years - absolutely everything was in the exact same size Hot Topic box regardless of what the present was. It wasn't the theme, it was the distraction to make the theme difficult.
They police themselves - there is a code of honor not to shake - although sometimes they stare and try to determine based on shape. They know that the practical will be woven into the wanted. We only give "toys" on birthdays and Channuka, the children, knowing this think of "May I have" in terms of "Can I put this on my list" and have for years.
But this year there is knowledge -- rituals have developed over the six months we have known the Poppets. We have methods for announcing the package, traditions involving the opening, the mandatory 1st hour photos where the new poppets interact with the things in our environment and the slower ritual of "settling" where the poppets try out different places in the house to decide where they would like their home base to be. There is a lot of bonding in our family over this. We are all creatives in different ways and Poppets are where we meet.
So therefore I had to tell the children that they were not to preemptively check any packages from Strange Studios for me. It was going to be a very Poppety Channuka. The anticipation has been building for three months. Wondering where the poppets are in the first picture? They are on the mantle - Pretending to be Take-Out containers - there is a reference in that if you can figure it out. I will let you know at the end of the holiday if you haven't gotten it.
So in the spirit of the Dreamtime I will share the Taunting. First Candle Poppets were given to the people who needed them. You have the same information the children ( who are not so childish anymore) have.
Orange and Purple have joined our crew. If you look at the bottom of the fireplace you can see our growing Embassy Project.
Some people put out Holiday Villages, we put out pocket realities.
We celebrate with many different friends and families so there will be other celebrations as well but the Channuka Taunting belongs to us with flame and food and wit and love.