It began at sunset yesterday, December 16.  Jewish communities around the world joined in celebrating Hanukkah.  Also known as the “Festival of Lights,” during the eight-day celebration families gather to light the menorah, enjoy holiday foods, recite prayers, play games and exchange gifts.  While Jewish holidays don’t have associated colors, blue and white (often silver) are common to Hanukkah.  Some say because those are the colors of the Israeli flag.

Like many celebrations, Hanukkah has many traditional elements.  At the heart of the holiday is the nightly lighting of the menorah, a candelabra that holds nine candles.  Foods include latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganyot (jelly doughnuts), both fried in oil.  Singing songs around the menorah and playing with dreidels are part of the family fun. Chocolate candy money, known as gelt, is given to children. That stems from the long-ago tradition of handing out gifts of gelt, the Yiddish word for money.

Happy Hanukkah!