This year, Chanukah begins on the evening of Saturday, Dec. 8, and ends a week later on Sunday, Dec. 16.
According to Chabad.org, Chanukah starts on the Hebrew calendar date of 25 Kislev and lasts for eight days. For those of us who aren't attuned to the Jewish calendar, that translates to sundown on Saturday, Dec. 8.
The 9th Annual Chanukah Extravaganza hosted by the Chabad Jewish Center of Greater St. Petersburg will be from 4:30 - 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 9 at South Straub Park.
Whatever your age, there will be something to delight the senses including a giant Menorah filled with jelly beans, interactive olive oil workshop, crafts, latkes, strolling magician, 18 foot high double lane inflatable slide, free latkes, music, doughnut bar, raffles, Judaica sale, greetings from local dignitaries and a hot dog concession. There will also be a large “Spin for Sandy” dreidel (bring your change and watch it add up) and the proceeds will be sent to victims of hurricane Sandy.
Admission is free and open to the public.
Chanukah, also known as the Festival of Lights, commemorates the story of the Maccabean Revolt against Syrian rulers in present day Israel 2,300 years ago. The Maccabees wanted to rededicate Jerusalem's main temple but had only enough oil to kindle the Eternal Light for one day. The oil lasted for eight days, according to the story, and the holiday of Chanukah was born.
Today, Jews generally celebrate by gathering together with family, lighting one candle on the menorah each of the eight nights, playing dreidel and eating special holiday foods such as potato latkes and babka.