Hanukkah, (also spelled Chanukah), the Jewish Festival of Lights commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem by the Maccabees after it was destroyed by the Syrians. The eight-day, wintertime festival starts on November 28 at sundown, and is is celebrated with nightly menorah lighting, special prayers, playing dreidel, telling the Hanukkah story and eating special foods including potato latkes and jam doughnuts called 'sufganya'.
At the heart of Hanukkah is the nightly menorah lighting. The menorah, which is usually placed in a doorway or window, holds nine flames, one of which is the shamash (“attendant”), which is used to kindle the other eight lights. A candle is lit each night and by the eighth night, all eight are kindled.
Hanukkah blessings are recited before the menorah is lit, and traditional songs are sung afterward.