6th Night of Hanukkah / Chanukah... 2009

On the old site, I used to do something to celebrate Hanukkah (Channukah, חנוכה). Last year, I revived the tradition by presenting 8 days of Mathieu gifts for the 8 days of the holiday. This year, I thought I'd pick a key part of the holiday (a tradition, a symbol, something of historical significance) to share... and connect it in some way to Mathieu.

So, with that said... I present to you gift number 6:

One of the most recognizable traditions of Hanukkah is the dreidel. The dreidel itself is simply four sided spinning top with a Hebrew letter on each side. Nun, Gimmel, Hay, Shin are the first letters of the phrase "a great miracle happened here" (referring the to the oil lasting 8 days).

Here's how it works. You get a group of people and each take turns. You each start off with an equal pot of loot (change, candy, etc). Everyone puts one piece of their pot into the center (Eventually, more starts ending up there). If you land on נ (Nun), you do nothing on your turn. If you land on ג (Gimmel), you get all of the loot in the center pot. If you land on ה (Hay), you get half of the center pot. If you land on ש (Shin), you have to put half of your pot into the center pot. At the end of a set number of rounds, who ever has the most in his/her personal pot won the game.

You can play with real coins, fruit bits, candy... anything. But one of the best things to play with is gelt, or chocolate coins. (Here comes the stretch....) Mathieu makes a whole lot of gelt. In fact, with his salary this year, he could buy 778,894 bags of gelt (a 5 ounce bag is $1.99 at my local Trader Joe's). Last year, he could have bought three times as many, or 2,889,447 bags!

Here are some break downs:

An aside: For those who are interested, here is a neat "what you need to know about Hanukkah" story from the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune: Spinning Tales: A Hanukkah Primer. And don't laugh at the graphic. That was the first animated gif I ever made, back in 1997 or so (using Claris Works clip art and a semi-legal copy of Photoshop). It was hot stuff at the time. =) And special thanks to Spencer for his advice and Hebrew spellings of things.


vulcansmuse said...

I've gotten behind because of Chicago...

But I just wanted to say that I'm so incredibly impressed with the breakdown of Mathieu's salary into packages of gelt that he could buy. That is incredibly impressive.

Also... your Hanukkah posts? Awesome. :)

Sarah said...

Thanks! =) The holiday is long over and I still need to finish the last two nights. I think I outdid myself with the gelt. I have no ideas after that. Plus, his current status of "on personal leave" has me a bit uneasy.