Hanukkah, also known as the Jewish Festival of Lights, is a Jewish holiday that celebrates gift giving and the lighting of one candle for each of the eight days that Hanukkah is celebrated.
This year, Hanukkah begins at sunset on Tuesday, December 12, and ends on Wednesday, December 20. Hanukkah started back around 200 B.C. when the people of Israel were running out of oil to light their homes. They thought that they only had enough oil left for one of two nights, but instead, it lasted for eight days straight.
During Hanukkah, during each of the eight nights, families light one candle per night on the menorah. The middle candle, the shamash, is used to light the other candles, moving in order from left to right. The lighting of the candles is a representation of the oil lamp burning for eight days in the temple. Depending on how many candles are lit, the children will receive that many number of presents for the night.
At sunset on December 12th, Jewish families around the world will light only two candles, the shamash and the first candle on the far left on the menorah. Afterwards, children will receive their first gifts of the celebration.
For more information about Hanukkah, click here.