What Day Does Hanukkah 2012 Start?

The Jewish celebration of Hanukkah is right around the corner. How will you celebrate it this year?

The Jewish celebration of Hanukkah — also called the Festival of Lights — begins this year on Saturday at sundown. In the Hebrew calendar — which is a lunar calendar — Hanukkah is celebrated on the 25th day of the month of Kislev. Hanukah runs for eight days, and will conclude this year on Sunday night, Dec. 16.

Locally, Chabad of Central Westwood is hosting a Chanukah carnival at 4 p.m. Sunday at the Federal Building, 11000 Wilshire Blvd. There will be a menorah lighting, live music, Chanukah treats, face painting, a moonbounce and other fun for the family.

As well, the Chabad of Century City website has helpful Chanukah how to's, including how to make traditional Chanukah recipes, how to play dreidel and a menorah lighting guide.

What is Hanukkah?

Hanukkah is a celebration commemorating the Maccabean Revolt, a battle between the Jews and the Seleucids, who ruled Israel more than 2,000 years ago.

The Jews drove the Seleucids out of Jerusalem and reclaimed their desecrated holy temple, according to the Chabad-Lubavitch Media Center

The victors found a one-day supply of olive oil that had not been contaminated by the Seleucids and used it to light the temple menorah. The miracle of Hanukkah is that the oil — which was supposed to last for only one day — lasted for eight days, hence the length of time Hanukkah is celebrated today.

Hanukkah is celebrated by lighting a candle on the menorah on each of the eight nights.  Other customs include eating traditional foods made with oil, such as potato latkes and deep-fried, filled donuts known as sufganiyot, and playing with a spinning top called a dreidel, which is inscribed with the Hebrew acronym for "A great miracle happened there."

Los Angeles has the second largest population of Jews in the United States, with some 519,200, according to the North American Jewish Data Bank. New York City is first with a population of 1.4 million Jews. The percentage of Jewish households in Los Angeles — 7.6% — ranks the city 10th on the NAJDB list, topped by South Palm Beach, FL, with 48.6%. (New York is fourth with 15%.)

How does your family celebrate Hanukkah?


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