Festival of Lights - Hanukkah

Hanukkah is one of the most popular Jewish festivals, also known as the Festival of Lights and the Feast of Dedication; it is celebrated on 25 Kislev of the Jewish calendar and celebrated for eight days.

Each year the exact date of Hannukkah is different, as it was Dec 6 to 14 in 2015, but will coincide with Christmas in 2016 spanning from Dec 24 to Jan 1. It celebrates for two miracles – a great Jewish military victory and a miraculous supply of oil for the Temple. The Hanukkah menorah (traditional Hanukkah candle stand) holds nine candles, one for each of the eight nights and an additional candle that's used to light the others.

One candle is lit on the first night, two on the second night, until all eight candles are lit on the eighth night. Hanukkah is a time to celebrate with family and friends, to eat holiday treats, to give gifts (especially to children).

Other Hanukkah festivities include playing Dreidel (Yiddish for a spinning top) and eating oil-based foods such as doughnuts and Latke. Hanukkah is widely celebrated now not simply for its religious significance, but due to its proximity to Christmas.

Like many winter festivals from other cultures, it is a perfect time for family and friends to get together, as children would gather around with their candies or chocolate coins, gather a bunch and create a pot and spin the dreidel to decide how many candies they get within the pot.

Understanding Hanukkah is not just a celebration of Jewish culture but also an appreciation that despite our differences on the surface, the core values of family, love and our seek for the truth remains similar across countries, religions, and race.

(Image Credits: Len Radin)

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