According to Chabad.org, Hanukkah starts on the Hebrew calendar date of 25 Kislev and lasts for eight days. This year, Hanukkah begins on the evening of Saturday, Dec. 8, and ends a week later on Sunday, Dec. 16.
Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, commemorates the story of the Maccabean Revolt against Syrian rulers in present day Israel 2,300 years ago. The Maccabees wanted to rededicate Jerusalem's main temple but had only enough oil to kindle the Eternal Light for one day. The oil lasted for eight days, according to the story, and the holiday of Hanukkah was born.
Today, Jews typically celebrate by gathering together with family, lighting one candle on the menorah each of the eight nights, playing dreidel and eating special holiday foods such as potato latkes and babka.
Looking to celebrate locally? Here's a few events happening close to home.
Bethesda Row will host a Hanukkah Family Spectacular on Dec. 9 at 5:30 p.m. at Bethesda Lane. The event, in partnership with Chabad of Bethesda, features “a Hanukkah Menorah lighting, local celebs, family entertainment, music, food, and more!” For more information check out the Bethesda Row website here.
The national Menorah lighting takes place on Dec. 9. A national celebration of the beginning of Hanukkah with features the United States Navy Band, children’s activities and the lighting of the National Menorah. This event is free, reservations required. The event begins at 4 p.m. 1600 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC.
Now through December 16, 2012. The Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington is hosting its annual Holiday Boutique and Craft Show featuring Jewelry, decorative glass, Judaic pieces, ceramic artwork and more. Located at 6125 Montrose Rd., Rockville. For more information check out the website here.
A family Hanukkah celebration takes place on Dec. 8, at 6:30 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington. For more information check out the website here.
Temple Beth Ami in Travilah is hosting Shabbat services for children and families starting at 6 p.m., Dec. 14. Hanukkah songs, stories, surprises and menorah lighting for children, an evening service featuring the temple band ShabbaTones, and ending with coffee and ice cream. A latke buffet begins at 6:30 p.m. with a latke bar, salads, fruit, and dreidel cookie decorating. Cost for the buffet is $8 per adult, $5 per child or $26 per household. Register online here.
TELL US: If you observe Hanukkah, what are your plans?