Hanukkah begins at sundown with a nightly menorah lighting through Dec. 18. Courtesy/bkreader.com
Hanukkah 2020 begins today at sundown and ends at sundown Friday, Dec. 18.
The eight-day Jewish celebration, also known as Chanukah, commemorates the rededication during the second century B.C. of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, where according to legend Jews had risen up against their Greek-Syrian oppressors in the Maccabean Revolt.
Hanukkah, which means “dedication” in Hebrew, begins on the 25th of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar and usually falls in November or December.
Often called the Festival of Lights, the holiday is celebrated with the nightly lighting of the menorah, traditional foods, games and gifts.
At the heart of the festival is the nightly menorah lighting. The menorah holds nine flames, one of which is the shamash (“attendant”), which is used to kindle the other eight lights. On the first night, just one flame is lit. On the second night, an additional flame is lit. By the eighth night of Chanukah, all eight lights are kindled.
Care must be taken to light the menorah before Shabbat candles are lit Friday, and the following evening they are to be kindled only after Shabbat has ended.
A menorah is lit in every household (or even by each individual within the household) and placed in a doorway or window.