The National Menorah is lit on the Ellipse in front of the White House in Washington, DC. The lighting of the National Menorah kicks-off the Festival of Chanukah, the eight-day Jewish holiday. The ceremony celebration in DC includes three cantors and music from the US Navy Band. There are also donuts, latkes and fun for the whole family.
Why does the Jewish tradition celebrate Chanukah (also spelled Chanukkah, Hanukkah and Hanukka)? To commemorate the victory--which gave them the right to worship freely--of the Maccabees over the occupation of Jerusalem by Syrian-Greeks and their king Antiochus IV.
The Festival of Lights is celebrated for eight days. Why eight days? Because when they redidcated their Holy Temple there was only enough oil to burn for a day. Miraculously, the oil lasted eight days, the same amount of time it took them to prepare more oil. This miracle led to the annual celebration and today each day for eight days, a new candle is lit until all eight candles glow.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TO GO:
Date: Sunday, December 13, 2009
Location: The Ellipse (at the NW end, near Constitution Avenue)
Time: Begins at 4 p.m.
Admission: Free - Advance Tickets Required. Visit www.nationalmenorah.org or call 202-332-5600 for more information.