Why Nonukah? Why not?!
After eight full days of Chanukah, (or Hanukkah, depending on your spelling preference or ability to roll a ‘ch,’ I’ll go back and forth between the two) the night and day after can feel like a letdown. More than that, after the year that was, we need more reasons to celebrate. Nonukah means to fill that gap with a mythical ninth night and day of the Festival of Lights. There are no rules to celebrating, but rather it’s meant to give you one more day of joy.
When is Nonukah this year?
Nonukah comes out every year on the night/following day after the last day of Chanukah. In 2020, Hanukkah comes out 12/10/20-12/18/20 which means that Nonukah comes out on 12/19/20 (with Nonukah eve on the night of 12/18/20).
Nine Suggested Nonukah Guidelines:
1. Light a candle: Or two. It’s up to you. Since Chanukah is a time for lighting a candle starting on the first night and adding one every single night until you hit the eighth night and all eight candles are lit. The tradition on Nonukah differs slightly though: Light a scented candle and enjoy the festive glow. Or maybe a Himalayan salt lamp is more your thing, it doesn’t really matter as long as you add some light to the world.
2. Gifts…for yourself: This time of year can be a frenzy of gift-giving, but instead of shopping for everyone else, Nonukah is all about you. So hit up your Amazon wish list or splurge on that Instant Pot you’ve been eyeing. Or a copy of Ancient Prayer, that’s always a great gift idea!
3. Be someone’s miracle: Hanukkah is a holiday built around the premise of miracles great and small, with the most well-known being a little bit of pure olive oil that burnt for eight whole days. We all know that during the happiest moments, there are far too many people who are vulnerable and alone. So, celebrate the silliness, but check in with an elderly neighbor or your friend who’s a single mom to a learning disabled child, because miracles come in all shapes and sizes – even yours.
A few years back my sister and I launched the RWR Network, a 501(c)(3) national nonprofit. We work with vulnerable folks including caregivers and Holocaust survivors. In the past year, we’ve done everything from making sure homebound people received fresh hot meals or pantry staples, to creating virtual Zoom events and text education initiatives. Want to donate? Thank you in advance! Any amount helps PayPal.me/RWRNetwork Want to volunteer? We’re starting new trainings in 2021 and would be thrilled (delighted! excited!) to have you on our team. Want to sponsor an event? Cool! Write to us at rwrnetworkoutreach@gmail and let’s talk! Or sign up for our sporadic newsletter to keep up with RWRN.
4. Live like a Maccabi*: You don’t have to be badass or a ninja, instead take your cue from the most underrated and underrepresented superheroes in history- The Maccabis. To put it into a cultural perspective, many of us are familiar with the Jacobite rebellion after watching Outlander; The Maccabi rebellion was similar in that they were the small group of underdogs- only in this case they were victorious. When times are dark, it can be easy to cave in, but #LiveLikeAMaccabi and instead fight for what you know is right.
5. Yum: It doesn’t have to be donuts or latkes or anything associated with any other holiday for that matter, but it’s okay to indulge just a little bit on Nonukah, even if it means simply having a giant salad or smoothie or something unexpected.
6. Indulge a little: Been putting off that pedicure because your toes are buried under fleece and boots? Today’s a perfect day for a little TLC for you by you. Even if you can’t get to the salon (hello, lockdown in New York!) paint your tootsies or treat yourself to something lovely and colorful.
7. Listen to cheesy music: It’s okay if you have terrible (or excellent) taste in music, on Nonukah, the order of the day is fun. So crank up that Abba or Nine Inch Nails, if you love it- it’s perfect for today at least.
8. Cancel your plans: Skip that Zoom call or craft instead of cleaning. Since Nonukah is an authentic made-up holiday, you can explain to your boss or colleagues that you needed time off to celebrate.
9. Make up your own rules: Or discard all the above suggestions and come up with your own way of celebrating. It’s been a tough year, find something to celebrate.
The name behind Nonukah: Nonukah was created by marketing strategist/author/journalist/entrepreneur and all-around bon vivant Rachel Weingarten AKA the Dreidel Maydel (for her ability to put a positive spin on nearly anything). Rachel created Nonukah a few years back after realizing there’s no let-down that quite compares to the monumental bummer after eight nights of Chanukah merriment.
Want to chat about all things Nonukah or anything else? Feel free to drop Rachel a line firstname.lastname@example.org or use the handy dandy form below:
*In case you’re wondering what Maccabi means, there are those who believe it to be an acronym of “Mi Chamocha Ba-elim Hashem” “Who is like you the mighty O Lord?, the battle cry of Judah Maccabi and all the Maccabees. Others believe it to mean “to extinguish” since the Maccabees extinguished the Hellenic persecution of Jews, while still others believe it comes from the root of the Hebrew word meaning hammer, which likely inspired the Hebrew Hammer film franchise.