One of the best antidotes to all the modern addictions spawned by sadness and disconection are holidays where people come together in community. In November Hindus, Jains and Sikhs all over the world celebratd Diwali, and in early December Jews celebrated Chanuka. The festivals share a number of similarities: both are known as the festival of lights; both involve the lighting of a row of small oil lamps for several nights in a row. Both celebrate the triumph of “good” over “evil” – as these faiths respectively conceive of “good” and “evil”. In the case of Chanukah it is the triumph of an ascetic consciousness over a preoccupation with aesthetics, materialism and the body. This triumph is embodied in the historical narrative of the triumph of the ancient Israelis over their Greek occupiers, who sought to colonize and hellenize the Hebrews.
In similar fashion, the Hindu and Sikh traditions commemorate literal and symbolic victories – of Lord Rama over Ravana, and (for the Sikhs) of Guru Har Gobind Ji over Emperor Jahangir.
Both Chanukah and Diwali have the custom of eating oil based foods. Both Hindus and Jews eat their equivalents of the fried doughnut. Hindus have the Badusha, and Jews have Sufganiyot. Another popular Hannukah food is latkes (Yiddish, in Hebrew called levvivot) which are essentially hash browns – grated potatoes mixed with onion and fried.
Although Just A Little Green is not primarly focused on Animal Rights, there are many places where Animal Rights and Sustainability intersect (for example reducing meat eating will reduce both methane emmissions and non-sustainable farming practices).
To honour these two beautiful festivals, here are two links to delicious vegan recipes. For badusha visit a wonderful blog called Holy Cow! (which also has a sweet description of how a traditional Diwali was celebrated) and for vegan latkes visit PETA
Shal-om shanti shanti