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Chanukah

 

Chanukah, also known as the Festival of Lights and Feast of Dedication, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire of the 2nd century BC. The festival is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December.

The festival is observed by the kindling of the lights of a unique candelabrum, the nine-branched chanukiah, one additional light on each night of the holiday, progressing to eight on the final night. Other Chanukah festivities include playing dreidel and eating oil-based foods such as doughnuts and latkes (fried potato fritters).

The typical chanukiah consists of eight branches with an additional visually distinct branch. The extra light is called a shamash and is given a distinct location, usually above or below the rest. The shamash is of practical use, to light the others. Using Chanukah lights, other than symbolically, is forbidden.

Chanukah 2016 starts on the evening of Saturday, December 24 and ends in the evening of Sunday, January 1 2017