Today is the first day of HANNUKAH. Hannukah is a Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the second temple in Jerusalem (there is a transliteration also romanized as as Chanukah or Ḥanukah) at the time of the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar. It is also known as the Festival of Lights and the Feast of Dedication, and this year it falls on December 2.
The festival is observed by lighting the candles of a candelabrum with nine branches, called a Hannuakkah menorah (or hanukkah). One branch is typically placed above or below the others and its candle is used to light the other eight candles. This unique candle is called the shamash (Hebrew: שמש, “attendant”). Each night, one additional candle is lit by the shamash until all eight candles are lit together on the final night of the holiday. Other Hanukkah festivities include playing dreidel and eating oil-based foods such as latkes and sufganiyot, and dairy foods. Since the 1970s, the worldwide Chabad Hasidic movement has initiated public menorah lightings in open public places in many countries