Summary: What do the Jewish, Hindu, and Muslim kids do during religious holidays? Do they have magical menorahs for Hanukkah? Get special meals from the house elves for Ramadan? Magically change skin colors for Holi? Join the ride for some unseen Hogwarts magic!
AN: This was prompted by one of my friends asking me, "What do the Jewish kids at Hogwarts do during Christmas?" I was flabbergasted and another of my friends said to write it. And write it, I did. Then I went a bit further, and decided to expand on that idea and write ficlets for a couple of holidays. Thanks go out to my Jewish friends who answered all my questions about Hanukkah. Now please read, review, and enjoy!
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter or Judaism. Isn't that the point of writing fanfiction?
As the Gryffindor Quidditch team walked into the common room after practice, they noticed the list for people staying at Hogwarts over the winter break had been posted on the bulletin board. Seeing this, Harry asked Katie, "Do you have any Christmas plans with your family?"
"No. I went home my first year, but I think I'll just stay here this year and study, play Quidditch, that kind of thing. There'd really be no point going home, anyway, except to be bothered by my little brothers," Katie replied.
"Why? Don't you celebrate Christmas?" Harry asked with an expression of confusion.
"Nope. I'm Jewish, so right around this time I celebrate Hanukkah. My first year, it fell right around Christmastime, when we were off from school, but because its based on a lunar calendar it changes each year. Now it's in about two weeks."
Harry nodded before doubling back to sign his name on the list.
The next morning at breakfast, Katie drifted from the Gryffindor table over to the Hufflepuff table. She quickly scanned the length of the table and found who she was looking for.
"Leanne!" she called to the younger student.
Leanne looked up at the call of her name and waved to the Gryffindor. She patted the seat next to her, indicating that Katie could sit down to talk.
"Thanks," Katie said while buttering a piece of toast from the plate in front of her. "Hey. Do you know if you're doing anything for Hanukkah this year?"
The Hufflepuff shook her head. "Usually my mum and dad just send me the gifts by owl. I just light my little menorah by myself."
Her menorah was magical, though she was Muggle-born. All she had to do to light it was tap her wand on the center candle on the first day of Haunkkah, and the menorah did the rest. Katie noted the sad tone in her voice, and remembered that Leanne hadn't had the chance to be able to go home for the holiday as she had her first year.
"I was wondering if you wanted to try to do something for all the Jewish students to celebrate Hanukkah this year. After all, the school does plenty for Christmas." At this she waved her arms, indicating the many red and green decorations around the Great Hall.
"Sure! That would be great. It's been a while since I've actually gotten to celebrate Hanukkah with other people. I think there're two other Jewish people in my year: Anthony Goldstein and Daphne Greengrass. They're both in some of my classes. Want me to ask them about it today?" Leanne responded. While being quiet most of the time, Leanne became a burst of energy and noise when she got excited. The people sitting around them, especially those trying to finish some last-minute homework, began to glare at her.
"That sounds good. If they agree to our plan-thing, could you guys swing by the library tonight at seven? I have an essay for Binns to write due tomorrow that I procrastinated on." Katie popped the rest of the piece of toast into her mouth and gathered her bag to read. Leanne nodded and Katie stood up and brushed crumbs off her front. "See ya later, then!"
Later in the day, Leanne found time to talk to both Anthony and Daphne at once, during the afternoon study period. "Hey!" she whisper-yelled to them. Looking up from the Herbology essay they were both working on, they noticed the exclamation had been directed towards them.
Seeing she had successfully gotten their attention, Leanne checked to make sure Professor Snape had his back turned, grabbed her things, and quickly moved tables. By the time he turned back around to survey to mostly-quiet room, it appeared as if Leanne had been working at Anthony and Daphne's table the whole time.
"Do you guys have any Hanukkah plans this year?" Leanne asked.
Daphne shrugged and said, "I used to just do all the stuff on my own, but now that my sister's here, I guess we'll do that kind of thing together. Maybe my parents can send us one of their old menorahs, instead of my cheap one. Now that it's just them in the house they won't need more than one. What about you, Anthony?"
"Nope. My parents won't ask Dumbledore to let me come home for it. They don't want me to miss anything important in my lessons, especially with my new classes this year," Anthony replied.
"Well how would you like to put something together for us Jewish kids this year? There aren't that many of us, I think there're five, and it wouldn't have to be big or anything. Look, if you're interested, stop by the library at seven tonight. Katie Bell, the Gryffindor a year above us? She wants to help. It was her idea, actually. It'll be fun." Leanne raised her eyebrows, trying to put on the most pleading face she could.
"Sure. I'll come. But I won't bring Astoria. I don't want to get her hopes up about there being Hanukkah plans for us here this year," Daphne said, returning to her essay.
"Yeah. I'll be there. I have to check out a book on Ancient Runes, anyway," Anthony said, the latter part more to himself than to Leanne.
Satisfied, Leanne jumped out of her seat. "Great!" However, she quickly sat back down when she realized she had spoken during a lull in the noise, and tried to stay out of the glare of Professor Snape.
At seven o'clock, Katie was hard at work on her essay for Professor Binns. At a roll of parchment, it was already nearly done. All she had left to do was the conclusion paragraph… She glanced up to stretch her neck and saw Leanne, followed by Daphne and Anthony, enter through one of the library's side doors. Deciding that the last paragraph could wait until they had finished their discussion, she dried her quill, put a stopper in her ink well, and carefully rolled up her History of Magic essay.
After an hour of brainstorming, date checking, and compromising, the four students had finally come up with a general idea of what they wanted to do to celebrate Hanukkah. All that was left to do was ask Dumbledore.
"Ah. Do you wish to go home the week of Hanukkah?" the headmaster asked.
"Well, you see, sir… This year it falls in the middle of December and we don't want to miss classes-" Anthony began to explain.
"No, missing classes wouldn't do. I think it can be arranged for you to do something here," Dumbledore interjected.
"That's what we were thinking. Maybe we could arrange to go to the Great Hall or someplace to light a small menorah and talk to our parents," Daphne said.
"That sounds reasonable. I'll see what I can do. Now run along, now, before it gets too late and you come back to see me. However I think under those circumstances you would be escorted by Mr. Filch." Dumbledore gave the students a slight smile and leaned into his high-backed chair as the students turned to leave, and he began to ponder the situation.
On the first night of Hanukkah at dinner, there was a large menorah behind the teachers' table that joined the twelve Christmas trees lining the walls in the Great Hall. The large candle in the center was lit and appeared to be a larger version of the candles hovering near the enchanted ceiling.
The other candles on either side of the larger one hovered as well, but weren't lit. Dumbledore, seeing many faces turn towards the head table and that the majority of the student body had finished eating, stood to make an announcement.
"I see many of you have noticed the new addition to our holiday decorations. It has come to my attention that some of the students wish to celebrate a Jewish holiday this year: Hanukkah. For the next seven nights, one more candle on the menorah will be lit." As he said this, the largest candle rose from its setting and flew over to the smaller candle furthest to the right. The two met and the smaller one sprung into flame. "That is all for tonight. Have a good night's sleep and, to our Jewish students, Happy Hanukkah!"
When the students retired to their respective common rooms, they found a notice upon the bulletin board:
Would Gryffindor Katie Bell, Hufflepuff Leanne Wexler,
Ravenclaw Anthony Goldstein, and Slytherins Astoria Greengrass and Daphne Greengrass
please report to the teachers' lounge at eight o'clock this evening.
Minerva McGonagall, Deputy Headmistress
Eight o'clock found five confused students in the teachers' lounge. Seeing no one but themselves there, they sat somewhat awkwardly on the various mismatched sofas and chairs. Leanne and Katie restarted the conversation they had been having in the hallway and Anthony and Daphne discussed Herbology, a class that they shared. Astoria, having no one to talk to, studied the many portraits on the walls.
Professor McGonagall strode into the room several minutes later, apologizing for her tardiness.
"Oh, good. You're all here. You've all seen the menorah in the Great Hall, I assume, but Professor Dumbledore has arranged for the five of you to do something special." She waved her wand at one of the unused tables in the room.
As she said all this, the students in question had begun to look at each other and the deputy headmistress in confusion. They hadn't been expecting something special for them. In fact they thought the added decoration in the Great Hall had been special enough.
"After hearing your request, the headmaster contacted all of your parents. When they wholeheartedly agreed, he set this up for the week," Professor McGonagall said while gesturing to the newly-conjured mirror hanging behind the table with her outstretched wand.
"As Hanukkah is traditionally celebrated by the whole family, that is what you will do. For each of the eight nights of Hanukkah, your families will appear on a part of the mirror at eight fifteen."
Almost as if she had planned it, which was a likely possibility, the mirror's surface changed from reflective to having the appearance of a Muggle television. It flickered briefly before showing four families.
A chorus of "Hello!"s and "It's so good to see you!"s rang out and, after it died down, Leanne's mother spoke.
"Professor Dumbledore asked if us parents would be willing to join our children for Hanukkah," she said. Despite being a Muggle, she handled the magical connection with ease. "It's kind of like a video camera, except I can talk to you like you were right here with me."
Katie's father spoke up next. "Through this, we can all have Hanukkah together."
When the initial shock wore off, the correct candles were lit on everyone's respective menorahs, and various gifts appeared on the table in the Hogwarts teachers' lounge.