Today’s Holiday: Fifth Night of Hanukkah

Today’s Holiday:
Fifth Night of Hanukkah

Hanukkah commemorates the successful rebellion of the Jews against the Syrians in the Maccabean War of 162 BCE, but the military associations are played down. What is really being celebrated is the survival of Judaism. Jewish families today celebrate this holiday by lighting a special Hanukkah menorah, a candelabrum with holders for eight candles, one for each day of celebration, plus a ninth, the shammash, used to light the others. A special prayer is recited during the lighting, and, while the candles burn, it is a time for songs and games, including the four-sided toy called the dreidel.:

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