Eight Earthy Nights
While some are calling this year’s festival of lights “Jew Year’s Eve-ukkah,” here at Ekar we like to turn this week of celebration into a calling for us to get earthy. Even though it’s cold and snowy, we can bring the farm and its intentions of tending the land into our homes during Chanukah–a time to praise the earthy element of fire!
Check out a possible schedule of activities and discussions to bring into your home this Chanukah:
Night #1: Standing Rock Saturday, December 24th
- On the first night of Chanukah acknowledge and engage in the struggle of the Standing Rock Sioux as their water, the source of life, and water protectors continue to be threatened.
- Discuss and research what is happening in North Dakota with your friends and family.
- Divest from any bank accounts you might have that are currently funding the pipeline project proposal. Look here to find out the long list of investors.
- Donate to the water protector legal funds and/or collect materials on their current supply list.
- For kids: do an arts and crafts project around sending prayers to the Sacred Stone Camp.
Night #2: Solar Sunday, December 25th
- Lighten the mood on the 2nd night of Chanukah by harnessing the power of the Sun with a “Solar Sunday.”
- Attempt to make sun tea with the limited daylight available by placing 4-8 tea bags of your choice in a glass container full of water. Set out the tea in the morning so it can brew all day long and be sipped at dinner after lighting the candles.
- Make your own solar oven and test it out on a sunny day!
- Discuss with your children the benefits of alternative energy like solar power, such as fighting climate change.
Night #3: Meatless Monday, December 26th
- On the third night of Chanukah, skip the meat!
- Protect our earth by consuming less meat on this night since the process of getting chicken, beef, and other animal products on your table simply destroys our earth.
- Large-scale meat production wreaks havoc on our soil, air, and water. This article shares some of the shocking numbers that show the impact of our meat consumption habits.
- Check out some of our suggested seasonal recipes for ideas of how to use more veggies and less meat for this Meatless Monday Meal!
Night #4: Tzedakah Tuesday, December 27th
- It’s time to give back to the community on the fourth night of Chanukah.
- Tzedakah, or justice, can be interpreted in many ways. As a family decide how you’d like to engage in an act of Tzedakah.
- We recommend choosing activities like: volunteering at a local food pantry or hunger relief organization, sharing a meal with someone in need, donating foods to local shelters, collecting change to give to a nonprofit of your choice, and getting involved in the political system as an active citizen.
Night#5: Wormy Wednesday, December 28th
- On the fifth night of Chanukah, we bring it back to the Earth and get our hands dirty.
- Worms are an essential part of the soil throughout the world, building healthy environments for plants, food, and people to grow.
- Create your very own worm composting container on this Wormy Wednesday!
- We have some resources here to help you get started.
Night#6: Thermal Thursday, December 29th
- Get your thermals layered on, because on the sixth night of Chanukah we’re going outside!
- Thermal Thursday encourages everyone to take a walk in the wilderness–which requires some thermal attire to keep our bodies warm.
- Find a nearby local hike or walk such as the Cherry Creek Reservoir, Lookout Mountain, the Flatirons, or North Table Mountain.
- If you can’t get out of the city, even take a stroll through your neighborhood to simply feel the crisp air on your skin and take in the natural beauty that is always around us.
Night #7: Farm Fresh Friday, December 30th
- Keep it local on this special Chanukah Shabbat by cooking up a farm fresh dinner for the ninth night.
- While all the farmers’ markets are closed and farmers are enjoying their “off-season,” you can still try to eat a mostly local meal by reading the labels and signs at the supermarket. Look for signs that say “grown in CO” or “grown locally” and ask the supermarket staff where produce comes from if its unmarked.
- At the very least you can make a “seasonal” meal which would consist of mostly root vegetables, tubers, and squash. All things that could make a delicious and warming soup!
Night #8: Shmitah Saturday, December 31st
- On the final night of Chanukah, learn from the Jewish tradition of Shmitah, or the act of releasing.
- Allow your family to take a big breath and release together.
- Find ways to relax and create a calm environment for everyone.
- Slow down. Be gentle toward yourself and others.
- Give space and time to enjoy the company of those you love.
- We release the land and create an equal playing field every seven years, according to the Torah. Let the eighth night be the earthiness of all by coming back down to the earth and releasing anything that has been holding you back.
- Just like the weekly Sabbath, this could be an extra special way to get a new start to the next week, next year, next phase of life.
Happy Chanukah! May it be earthier than ever!