FRAMINGHAM – Hanukkah begins at sundown on Thursday, December 10.
The eight-day holiday celebrates the rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem after it was retaken by the Maccabees, a group of Jewish warriors, from the Greeks in the 2nd century BCE, according to Tablet magazine.
The temple required a holy light to burn inside at all times, but the Jews had only enough oil for one night.
Miraculously, the light burned for eight days.
A special type of menorah is lit every night. The hanukkiah, also known as the Hanukkah “menorah,” is a candelabra designated specifically for the holiday. The Hanukkah lamp has nine candles — one for each night, plus the shammash or helper candle. Every hanukkiah is a menorah, but not every menorah is a hanukkiah.
Latkes and sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts) are popular Hanukkah foods. Foods fried in oil is on purpose to symbolize the miracle oil that burned for eight nights.
President Harry Truman was the first to celebrate Hanukkah in the White House.