Hanukkah celebrated worldwide
by Ian Deitch
Associated Press Writer
December 09, 2012 12:00 AM | 566 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Poland’s chief rabbi Michael Schudrich, center, lights the first candle celebrating the beginning of Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights, on Grzybowski square in Warsaw, Poland, on Saturday.<br>The Associated Press
Poland’s chief rabbi Michael Schudrich, center, lights the first candle celebrating the beginning of Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights, on Grzybowski square in Warsaw, Poland, on Saturday.
The Associated Press
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JERUSALEM — Jews around the world ushered in the eight-day Hanukkah festival Saturday evening, lighting the first candles of ceremonial lamps that symbolize triumph over oppression.

In Israel, families gathered after sundown for the lighting, eating traditional snacks of potato pancakes and doughnuts and exchanging gifts.

Local officials lit candles set up in public places, while families displayed the nine-candle lamps, called menorahs, in their windows or in special windproof glass boxes outside.

Hanukkah, also known as the festival of lights, commemorates the Jewish uprising in the second century B.C. against the Greek-Syrian kingdom, which had tried to impose its culture on Jews and adorn the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem with statues of Greek gods.

The holiday lasts eight days because according to tradition, when the Jews rededicated the Temple in Jerusalem, a single vial of oil, enough for one day, burned miraculously for eight. For many Jewish people, the holiday symbolizes the triumph of good over evil.

Observant Jews light a candle each night to mark the holiday.

Oily foods are eaten to commemorate the oil miracle, hence the ubiquitous fried doughnuts and potato pancakes, known as latkes.
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