Wednesday marks the beginning of Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights.
For the first time in over a hundred years, the eight-day holiday will overlap with American Thanksgiving, which is Thursday. The dates also overlapped in 1888, The Associated Press reports.
Hanukkah celebrates the miracle of one day’s worth of consecrated oil keeping the menorah in Jerusalem’s Holy Temple lit for eight days.
Food is a big part of the celebration and fried foods, like latkes, are especially common to represent the importance of oil.
Families generally light the first candle on the candelabrum on the first night, followed by one more candle each night at sunset to represent the eight days.
Sometimes small gifts are exchanged.
Hanukkah ends on Dec. 5.
With files from 680News
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated it was the first time Hanukkah and American Thanksgiving had ever overlapped.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s statement
Laureen and I would like to extend our warmest greetings to the families, friends and communities across Canada and around the world who are celebrating Chanukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights.
This eight-day holiday recalls the story of the Maccabees, who liberated the Jewish people from oppression and rededicated the Holy Temple in Jerusalem by burning ritual oil in the Temple’s menorah. It also commemorates the miracle that the oil burned for eight full days, even though there was only enough to last for one.
It is an inspiring story of the triumph of good over evil, of light over darkness and the power of faith. It is this very faith that is the cornerstone of a modern, prosperous, vibrant and democratic Israel, a faith that has inspired believers in Canada and around the world.
Chanukah also provides a meaningful opportunity for all Canadians to reflect on the remarkable contributions, both past and present, of the Jewish-Canadian community in all areas of endeavour.