Article Lead Image

The White House/Flickr

White House poses Hanukkah trivia—puts answer on Advent calendar

They've got their traditions crossed.


Claire Goforth


Posted on Dec 23, 2019   Updated on May 19, 2021, 7:43 pm CDT

Today is the first day of Hanukkah. Presumably to mark the occasion, last night the White House tweeted a bit of Hanukkah trivia from its Advent calendar.

“Who was the first president to observe Hanukkah by lighting the National Menorah in a ceremony in Lafayette Park? Find out on the Advent calendar!”

There’s just one problem: Advent calendars are a Christmas—as in Christian—tradition. Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday.

People on Twitter were quick to point out the faux pas. Some astute observers noted that the menorah pictured had the wrong number of candles. Lots and lots came with the jokes.

“‘The Jew holiday is good trivia for our Christmas festivities,’” one wrote. “Oy,” another wrote, to which someone responded, “In this case–oy to the world.”

“Of course the White House puts Hanukkah on its Advent calendar!” Eric Columbus quipped. “It’s like those crappy new Hallmark/Lifetime movies where Jews learn the true meaning of Christmas, but with your tax dollars.”

“Hanukkah and Advent? Say what?” tweeted Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Cay Johnston. “And why, on the first night, are all the Menorah candles lit? Oh, I forgot, the White House is now filled with people who have no idea what they are doing. What’s next? A creche with the baby Rudolph?”

“Keeping track of Hanukkah with the White House Advent calendar is pretty much all you need to know about this administration,” @MikeLastort commented.

“I’m interrupting my Twitterless holiday week to ask why the holy hell Hanukkah is on the White House Advent calendar. And then I remember why, and that it has nothing at all to do with honoring Hanukkah, or Judaism,” CNN analyst Carrie Cordero said.

In case you’re wondering, Jimmy Carter was the first president to light the menorah in Lafayette Park, though it wasn’t known as the National Menorah until Ronald Reagan called it that in 1982.

Share this article
*First Published: Dec 23, 2019, 11:24 am CST