(This quote is from an excerpt of Archbishop Prendergast's speech at a testimonial dinner honoring Rabbi Erwin and Mrs. Laura Schild.) Both of these feast days begin on different days every year and this year, Chanukah begins at sundown on Wednesday, December 1st 2010, while Advent begins tomorrow Sunday, November 28th 2010. Chanukah's celebration lasts eight days ending on December 9th 2010, and Advent lasts until December 24th 2010. Since I am involved with making invitations and greeting cards which are often used to commentate these holidays, I read many blogs about them and recently discovered Prendergast's speech on a blog posting by Deborah Gyapong.
Gyapong writes "Chanukah means 'dedication,' and commemorates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after its desecration by foreign forces and the Jews' victory over the Hellenist Syrians in the year 165 B. C. For the rededication celebration, the Maccabees desired to light the menorah and looked everywhere for oil, finally finding a small flask that contained only enough oil to light the menorah for one day. Miraculously, the oil lasted for eight days. The message of Chanukah may be found in the name of the holiday itself: dedication —not only of the temple building but of individual lives to the pursuit of high religious and human ideals."
There are many traditions associated with the Chanukah holiday which you can read about by clicking here. It is also a time for sending cards and giving gifts. I have found that clients enjoy using my kaleidoscopic note-cards (because of their intricate colored patterns) for this purpose. A sample of a card from this collection can be seen at the top of this post. It is called "Sunset in Riverside Park" and was discussed in length in a radio interview for 1010 WINS; in a segment for John Montone's New York. You may hear that interview by clicking here.