Hanukkah, an eight-day Jewish festival, begins tonight.
HISTORY: It commemorates the victory over Syrian rulers in 165 BC by a band of traditionalist Jews led by Judah Maccabee and the story of a long-burning flask of oil at the liberated Jerusalem Temple. Legend says the flask was thought to contain only one day's worth of undefiled oil but instead it burned for eight days.
CELEBRATIONS: The holiday, also called the Festival of Lights, is celebrated primarily in homes. Families light the eight-branched Hanukkah lamp--one candle the first night and one more each successive night. Children often receive gifts. Among the special games associated with Hanukkah is the spinning of a top called the dreidel . Synagogue sermons tend to use the Maccabean revolt as a classic example of fights for religious liberty.
EVENTS: A partial listing of public ceremonies:
Sunday: Candlelighting ceremonies have been organized by the Chabad movement at 5 p.m. at the Sherman Oaks Galleria and 5:30 p.m. at the Westside Pavilion.
Monday: Candles will also be lighted 4:30 p.m. in the Los Angeles City Hall East rotunda in another Chabad-sponsored ceremony.