Dates, times, and what you need to know about the Festival of Lights.
Hanukkah 2011 begins at sunset on Tuesday, December 20, 2011, and ends on Wednesday, December 28, 2011, when three stars appear in the sky. The last candle is lit on the night of Tuesday, December 27, 2011.
What is Hanukkah?
Hanukkah is the Festival of Lights. It's much more than the "Jewish Christmas"--it celebrates the victory of the Maccabees over the Syrian-Greek Seculid army and the reclaiming and rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. The miracle of Hanukkah, however, comes later in the Hanukkah story--a single flask of oil, used to light the menorah in the Temple, could only last for one day. Instead, it lasted for eight.
What are some customs and practices on Hanukkah?
Each night of Hanukkah, the candles are lit. In some families, each person lights their own hanukkiah; in others, one is lit for the entire family. Two prayers are recited (and one additional prayer on the first night), and Hanukkah songs are sung.
What foods are traditionally eaten on Hanukkah?
Deep-fried foods! We aren't kidding. Most Hanukkah foods involve lots of oil, since the Hanukkah miracle involved a plentitude of oil. And so most of the traditional foods of Hanukkah--including latkes, or potato pancakes; and sufganiyot, or jelly donuts--aren't exactly a hit with Weight Watchers.