The Festival of Lights

Christmas is not the only holiday celebrated in December. There is also a holiday known as the Festival of Lights and called Hanukkah or Chanukah. It is an eight-day Jewish celebration to commemorate the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem after the Maccabean Revolt. This dedication came as a miracle when the candles in the Menorah (a specially made candelabra) were lit with enough oil to keep them burning for one day but instead they stayed lit for eight nights.

Hannukah begins on the 25rh of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar In modern times this means the festival begins on December 10 and ends on December 18th this year. On each of these nights, another candle is lit in the Menorah after sundown. The ninth candle is known as shamash or helper and it is used to light the other candles. During this time blessings are recited and traditional Hannukah food is eaten like jam-filled doughnuts and potato pancakes. Some Hannukah customs are playing with dreidels and the exchanging of gifts.


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