Although I celebrate Christmas, I love to learn about other holiday traditions. Today is the start of Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights. It celebrates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem in ancient times.

Hanukkah is observed for eights nights and days. The start date depends on the Hebrew calendar, and can vary from late November to late December. For 2020, Hanukkah begins the evening of December 10.

You’ve probably seen the beautiful candelabra with nine branches, called a menorah. The highest candle in the center is used to light the other eight throughout the festival. At the re-establishing of the temple, the menorah burned for eight days even though there was only enough sacred oil for one day. The modern menorah celebrates this miracle.

Other festivities include singing special songs, reciting prayers, eating special foods like potato or cheese latkes fried in oil, jelly donuts, and dairy, playing the dreidel game, and giving small gifts like chocolate coins.

Which December holiday do you celebrate?