What is Hanukkah?
Hanukkah, sometimes spelled Chanukah, is the Jewish Festival of Lights. This year it lasts from sundown on December 18 to sundown on December 26. The holiday always begins on the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev and lasts eight days.
The Story of Hanukkah
The name Hanukkah comes from a Hebrew word meaning "to dedicate," and the holiday commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple when Jerusalem was retaken in the second century BCE during the Maccabean revolt. To celebrate this event, a menorah (a nine-branched candelabrum) was lit, but it was expected that the supply of oil would last only one day — yet, miraculously, the flames kept alive for eight days. Thus, Hanukkah is celebrated by lighting a menorah each evening over eight days: on each subsequent evening, one more candle is lit. It's also customary during Hanukkah to eat foods like latkes and doughnuts, to play games with a dreidel (a four-sided top), and to give and receive gifts.
Hanukkah in San Jose
Some local Hanukkah events this year include:
- Menorahs & Miracles at Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose (December 4)
- Latkes & Laughs: 10th Anniversary Show at Temple Emanu-El (December 18)
- Chanukah 2022 at Santana Row (December 18)
- Hanukkah on Main St.: Community Candle Lighting at Los Gatos Civic Center Front Lawn (December 22)
San José Public Library has lots of books, movies, and music to help make Hanukkah even more festive!