Yukon woman's ice menorah celebrates light of Hanukkah in the North
Elise Maltin has been building ice menorahs for more than a decade
As Hanukkah begins this week, one Yukoner will be lighting a menorah with a northern twist.
Elise Maltin has been crafting "ice menorahs" for the last 15 years. She got the idea from her friends in Yellowknife who would make large ice menorahs on their front lawn.
"I live in the North where we have the shortest days of the winter. And [Hanukkah] is a celebration of light and the miracle of it," said Maltin, who called it a "wonderful coincidence."
Maltin makes her candle holders by freezing water and food colouring in objects like milk cartons and star moulds.
She usually starts building her menorah about a week before Hanukkah begins. But fluctuating weather can mean trouble for her ice creations.
"Some years I start early and then everything melts," she said.
This year, she tried burying her ice candle holders in a plastic tote bag under the snow.
To her delight, it worked.
Maltin will light the first candle at sundown on Thursday. As per tradition, she will light another candle for each of the eight nights of Hanukkah.
"The story, historically, is freedom over oppression and lightness over darkness," said Maltin.
Matlin got her idea years ago from Miki Ehrlich's family, who have been making ice menorahs in Yellowknife for nearly 20 years.
Ehrlich said the ice menorah "makes sense," symbolizing both Hanukkah and where they live.
"It's a beautiful outdoor way to celebrate the holiday and decorate our yard, similar to what our neighbours are doing for Christmas in our own style," Ehrlich said.
Maltin won't have her annual Hanukkah party due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But she plans to celebrate with friends in her social bubble and video call family.
Usually, she says, her Hanukkah is about kids and gathering with others. She usually makes potato latkes and plays the dreidel game.
"As an adult I do it more for my friends and their kids," she said.
"And just to show that there's other holidays that go on this time of the year."
Written by Laura Howells with files from Elyn Jones and Yukon Morning