Four Festive Seasons: Happy Hanukkah!

Four notable annual winter festivals with similar secular and religious origins often coincide in December. Winter Solstice (10,000 BCE), also known as Midwinter, has been observed by a variety of cultures throughout much of recorded history. Hanukkah (165 BCE), the Jewish “Festival of Lights,” is observed over eight days. Christmas (336 A. D.) commemorates the Nativity of Christ and is probably the world’s most celebrated event. A comparatively new holiday, Kwanzaa (1966 A. D.), “First Fruits,” is a week-long celebration of African and African-American cultural heritage.

These diverse festive holidays evoke time-honored universal values through feasts, gift-giving, decorations, worship, and music. The symbolic significance of ancient and modern ritualized traditions strengthens bonds of family, friends, and community. Conversely, their multi-billion-dollar seasonal commercialization inherently boosts the global economy.

This presentation of select festival holdings in the University of Virginia’s Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library is curated by Reference Librarian Regina Rush with contributions by Research Archivist Ervin Jordan and will continue over the next two weeks to rekindle treasured holiday memories—and optimism—during these stressful times.


Craftswoman Barbara Schuckman has been making modern, one-inch scale collectible dollhouse miniatures since 1978. This world-renowned artisan’s body of work, known simply as “By Barb” includes such items as miniature books, dinnerware, ceramic decorative plates, artwork for holidays and celebrations, and a Judaic-inspired miniature line which features collectibles celebrating Jewish Holidays. Chanukah Story is a tiny, 25mm collectible that tells the history surrounding the Jewish holiday Hanukkah. The book consists of 12 unnumbered accordion fold pages, and the cover is illustrated with the image of a menorah. This collectible, handcrafted by Barb in 1974, is part of the McGehee Miniature Book Collection.

Barb, The Chanukah Story, 1974. (McGehee 07817)
McGehee Miniature Book Collection

Chanukah Story

The Chanukah Story, a miniature book in the McGehee Miniature Book Collection, given by Caroline Yarnall McGehee Lindemann in memory of her husband, Carden Coleman McGehee, UVA 1947

Chanukah Story interior page

The lighting of the menorah in The Chanukah Story.


Written by Lenore Cohen in 1963, Came Liberty Beyond Our Hope: A Story of Hanukkah is aimed at a young adult audience. The story recounts the history which surrounds the festive Jewish celebration of Hannukah. This 26cm, 44-page book is encased in a robin-egg dust jacket that shares the same illustration as the book cover.
The beautifully illustrated plates by Hungarian artist Georges Gaal accompanies the text of the story.

Lenore Cohen, Came Liberty Beyond Our Hope: A Story of Hanukkah, 1963
(BM695 .H3 C6 1963)

Came Liberty Beyond Our Hope

The cover of Came Liberty Beyond Our Hope with an illustration by Hungarian artist Georges Gaal.

Came Liberty Beyond Our Hope

An illustration of the lighting of the menorah in Came Liberty Beyond Our Hope, illustrated by Georges Gaal.


Rich with visual imagery, this three-dimensional montage tells the story of Hanukkah in pop-up book form. Writer Sara Freeland and illustrator Sue Clark explore the events and many traditions that surround the festive Jewish holiday. The book includes a pop-up menorah, latke recipes, and a paper dreidel that can be assembled. Hanukkah! A Three Dimensional Celebration is part of the Brenda Foreman Collection of Pop-up and Moveable Books in the Small Special Collections Library.

Sara Freedland, Hanukkah! A Three-Dimensional Celebration, 1991. (PZ92 .F6 H38 1991)
Brenda Forman Collection of Pop-up and Movable Books. 

Hanukkah! A Three-Dimensional Celebration

A pop-up menorah in Hanukkah! A Three-Dimensional Celebration.

Hanukkah! A Three-Dimensional Celebration

The legend of the Maccabean Revolt in Hanukkah! A Three-Dimensional Celebration.

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