Less famous than Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur, or even Purim, Sukkot sometimes gets short shrift in pop culture: while soap operas and primetime shows usually acknowledge the "December Dilemma" by having their Jewish character retort to "Merry Christmas" with "Hey! Hanukkah! I'm Jewish, remember?" you'll seldom see a joke on 30 Rock about building a temporary hut in the backyard and shaking a palm branch and a citrus fruit. (Although it is pretty funny, proving that G-d is probably an Emmy-caliber sitcom writer.)
So without these pop culture cues, how can you know it's Sukkot-time again? Here are a few helpful hints:
Events with Funny Names
If it's Sukkot-time, you'll probably start getting invited to events with names that invoke the rituals and themes of Sukkot: temporary housing with open roofs, the words "booth," "hut," and "sukkah," plus myriad other puns and wordplay:
- Pizza in the Hut
- Sukkah Hop
- Sushi in the Sukkah
- Hookah in the Sukkah
- Magical Mystery Sukkah Tour
- Dinner Under the Stars
- Up on the Roof
- Sukkah in the City (possibly in the "Sex and the City" font)
- I'm Gonna Git You Sukkah
(Did I miss any? Leave your crazy Sukkot event's name in the comments section.)
Mascots, Movies and Music
Traditionally, Sukkot is a holiday of great joy. We also have a tradition to invoke the memories of ancestors or inspirational figures as guests (or, if you prefer, mascots) for the holiday. So, to help anyone who lives at the intersection of Jewish life and pop culture, here are some suggested mascots and musical accompaniments to make sure your hut holiday is one to remember.
- Official "Buffy" character of Sukkot: Willow
- Official "Bones" character of Sukkot: Booth
- Official women's organization of the holiday: Hadas(sah)
- Official bad pickup line of the holiday: "Can I get some fronds with that shake?"
- Official TV show about a Sukkot-inspired cheerleading team: "Shake It Or Break It"
- Official songs that may be parodied for Sukkot: "Milkshake," by Kelis ("My shake, shake brings all the fronds to the yard..."), "Can I Get a Hut Hut?" by Jay-Z
- Official song: "Shake Your Booty" (but please substitute "lulav" for "booty")
- Official song by an American Idol: "My Life Would Sukkah Without You"
- Official singer/songwriter: Michal Etrog
- Official movie poster tagline: "Lulav means never having to say you're sorry."
What other pop culture tips do you have? How do you know it's Sukkot?
And chag sameach (happy holiday) to all!