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Star of David Hanukkah menorah Getty Images

The First Night of Hanukkah: Here's What You Need To Know

Dec 06, 2015

Sunday Dec. 6 is the first night of Hanukkah, so here's a quick primer on the Jewish Festival of Lights.

The holiday lasts eight days and will run this year through Dec. 14. The key ceremony at the center of Hanukkah, also spelled Chanukah, is lighting a menorah each night. The eight nights of lighting the branched candelabrum represent the eight nights a one-day supply of oil miraculously lasted for a small band of Jewish people in 165 B.C. fighting to defeat the Greek army.

These days, people also celebrate Hanukkah by eating foods fried in oil, such as potato pancakes called latkes. There are also customary games children play, like spinning a dreidel, and they receive chocolate coins called gelt for victory.

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