Students celebrate the start of Advent and Hanukkah


A menorah and Advent candles stand outside Bobet Hall in the Peace Quad. Photo credit: Cristian Orellana

Vanessa Alvarado

Students of different faiths gathered in the Peace Quad on Dec. 2 to celebrate the simultaneous start of Advent and Hanukkah

Loyola kicked off these winter holidays by hosting an Advent Wreath Dropping and Hanukkah Candle Lighting in the Peace Quad on Dec. 2, 2018. The Advent Wreath Dropping, inspired by the Times Square Ball Drop, involved a zip lining wreath that flew from the top of the Freret parking garage down to students as they rang in the beginning of Advent.

For Christians, Advent is “the time in the church year that we get ready for Christmas,” according to Ken Weber, university minister.

“Other religions have a time of preparation and we believe, as Christians, that Christmas is so special that we take about four weeks to prepare ourselves, to pray and to really ponder the mysteries of what it means for Christ to be coming at Christmas,” Weber said.

The Advent celebration was accompanied by a Hanukkah candle lighting to celebrate the miracle of light in the Jewish faith.

Margaux Schexnider, political science sophomore and member of Krewe du Jew, explained history behind the holiday.

“King Antiochus commanded Jews to follow his religion which Jews cannot do since the main tenant of our religion is that God is one and there is only one God,” Schexnider said. “The king’s army destroyed the main temple and turned out the eternal light, the most important part of a synagogue along with the Torah scrolls. When Judah and the Maccabees came to reconstruct the temple, they found a small flask of oil for the eternal light that they thought would only last one night but ended up lasting for eight nights.”

Schexnider said that fundamentally the story of Hanukkah is one of strength and survival.

“This story is significant because it is a time to remember the resilience of our ancestors and a reminder that we must carry on this legacy,” Schexnider said.

Schexnider also emphasized that Hanukkah is one of many Jewish holidays and it often gets attention mainly due to its proximity to Christmas.

“Even though we attend a Catholic school, it is important for people to recognize and educate themselves about other religions and their customs,” Schexnider said.