Yes, another grinchy rant about Chanukah!
Why is it that Chanukah is the absolutely, hands-down easiest holiday, the holiday that requires absolutely the lowest investment in time and energy out of the entire year… yet it comes at a time of year when it is often physically impossible to even go into the garden???
I mean, if I was ranking them, Pesach would be the hardest chag. And what’s happening right about then in the garden? Full-on planting season!!! Two years in a row, I have had to rush to get peas in the ground before Pesach, because the year before, I waited ‘till afterwards and the peas, naturally, came up later than everybody else’s.
Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, etc., are right in the middle of harvest and tomato season and Sukkos… well… Sukkos is when we build the big plywood hut in our driveway, totally barring access to the backyard and garage. If it’s nice weather, the tomatoes ripen and burst. If it’s cold and yucky, they wither and die… without me.
Even Purim! Baking, baking, costumes, shlach manos to pack… and SEEDS, seeds crying to be started, dropped into little peaty pots. If I don’t do it, they won’t be mature enough to plant out two months later.
The only chag with no conflict between Judaism and the garden is Chanukah… and guess what else? It’s also the only time of year people think about buying you gifts!
Who’s going to think of buying more Plant Nannys or Seed-Starting Trays or special watering gimmicks when the ground is frozen over… not to mention the pricey perennials that make your mouth water six months later. I bet nobody (in Canada, at least) was ever gifted with a rain barrel or hose wand for Chanukah.
No, it’s exactly wrong, wrong, wrong. And I intend to do something about it! Starting next year, I’m moving Pesach to midwinter – who wouldn’t love starting the seder at 4:30 in the afternoon? (in fact, a lot of people already do!)
And then we’ll celebrate Chanukah in early spring, like civilized garden-persons. Plant and rake and hoe, spread compost and scatter seeds by day… and cozy up in the still-cool evenings with a plate of latkes and the magical glow of candles flickering in the windows.