How can I write an introduction for an essay on how to compare and contrast Hanukkah and Christmas? 

Expert Answers
thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

While we cannot write your introduction for you, as having someone else write part of your paper is plagiarism, something that can result in penalties ranging from failing a class to expulsion from a university, we can help you think about how to write the introduction yourself. 

The key in writing an introduction is deciding on a focus for the paper as a whole. There are several different approaches you could take to this assignment.

One focus and introduction would be from a anthropological or comparative religion perspective. Such a paper would start by noting that nearly every major culture has some sort of religious celebration marking the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. Such celebrations are often meant to encourage some form of hope, that even in the coldest days of winter when food supplies are running low, the days are about to lengthen. Thus you could write about how these two holidays fit within the context of winter solstice celebrations around the Mediterranean littoral. 

Neither Christmas nor Hannukkah were theologically central to the Abrahamic religions, with Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur being more important within Judaism and Easter in Christianity. Another way you could introduce and focus your paper would be to discuss how these two holidays obtained such significance in popular culture and the blending of their religious nature with aspects of the various local festivals especially as Christianity spread northwards. 

Finally, you might begin your paper by making the point that Hannukkah, a fairly minor Jewish holiday, has taken on many of the traditions associated with Christmas among Jews living in traditionally Christian nations and then talk about how this transformation reflects assimilation of Jews into surrounding cultural traditions. 

lizbv eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The festive holiday season that comes around every December centers around the celebration of religious holidays.  These holidays include Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Ramadan, to name a few.  The first two in this list, Christmas and Hanukkah, are two faith-centered holidays that share many similarities as well as several differences. These similarities focus on the religious aspects of the two, while the differences range across a spectrum of elements. 

** Hope this helps!  It would be a good idea to introduce your similarities and differences in the next and final sentence of your intro. paragraph, making it your thesis statement.

dhl-1957 | Student

In our predominantly Christian country, Christmas hardly needs an explanation. It is one of the most significant holy days on the Christian calendar, and even those who do not adhere to its religious meaning celebrating the birth of Christ celebrate its secular aspects, such as Santa Claus, tree decorating, and light displays.  Jews often participate in the secular holiday, but over the years they have developed their own religious celebration, which coincides with the second century victory of the Jews over the Romans and the sanctifying of the Temple in Jerusalem.  This festival, once a minor holiday on the Jewish calendar, has become more important as secular celebrations inundate society. Christmas and Hanukkha share several features, such as lights and gift-giving, but maintain distinctions such as the time span of the holidays, the manner of gift-giving, and, of course, the "reason for the season."  

aprildv | Student

Christmas and Hannukkah share many traits, and differ on many points as well.  To begin, both holidays are religious in nature, and both celebrate a miracle.  Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.

rymattanderson | Student

The cold, dark days of December get shorter and shorter until they seem to have no power to combat the looming night. Shortly before I am released for a a much needed vacation in December, I arrive at school in darkness, and when I leave, the sun is a faint memory on the horizon. When I dwell on this, I get depressed, but by the time I arrive home, my neighborhood is brightened by holiday lights. This celebration of light warms my heart and combats these dark days. Hanukkah is literally the celebration of light, while Christmas is the celebration of a savior, who is referred to as the light of the Christian religion. Both of these celebrations react to the darkness around while also observing different rites and beliefs.

cecilwilde | Student

Christmas and Hannukkah are both Judeo-Christian religious festivals celebrating pivotal historic events for the faiths they are associated with. The Jewish festival of Hannukkah is celebrated in recognition of the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, whereas Christmas is a festival celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, the Christian messiah. Christmas is also often celebrated by secular (non-religious) people, since it has had wide-spread cultural impact in most nations where Christians have lived in large numbers. This essay will explore the similarities and differences between the two religious holidays in detail, from historical context to common celebratory traditions.