This past Tuesday evening marked the the first day of Hanukkah. Surprisingly or not, many people don't understand the celebration or the meaning of this holiday.
I'm not Jewish, but here goes my take on the observance.....
Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish holiday. It traditionally celebrates the victory for the Maccabees over the larger Seleucid army. It also celebrates a miracle that happened during this time, wherein just a day's supply of olive oil allowed the menorah in the rededicated Temple in Jerusalem to remain lit for eight days. Therefore, Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah for eight days. Hanukkah begins on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar. Hanukkah begins in late November or December. In 2014 it starts on December 16.
The Hebrew word hanukkah means dedication.
The Hanukkah or (hanukkah menorah) is an important Hanukkah candle holder. It has nine candles. Traditionally, one candle is separated from the rest, usually by being higher than the other eight. On the first night, only one candle is lit, on the right side of the hanukah. On the second night, a second candle is added, and they are lit from left to right. This continues for all eight nights. The candles are never lit directly - instead, the higher candle, (called a shamash, meaning "attendant") is lit first, and then used to light the rest of the candles. Before the candles are lit, blessings are said over them.