Hanukkah commemorates the battle to rededicate the Temple of Jerusalem and the miracle in which, according to tradition, a tiny bit of oil burned for eight days. Here's how to celebrate this Jewish holiday.
Step 1: Get a menorah Find a menorah, a candelabra with nine candleholders, one of which is set apart for the shamash, a candle used to light the others. Place it in a street-facing window to fulfill the commandment of publicizing the miracle.
Step 2: Light the candles On the first night, place one candle in the farthest right holder and light it with the shamash. On the next night, add a second candle to the left of the first one, lighting the newest one first. Continue for the next six nights for a total of eight.
TIP: On Friday nights, light the Hanukkah candles before the Shabbat candles. On Saturdays, light them after havdalah, the ceremony that ends Shabbat.
Step 3: Recite blessings As you light the candles, recite the two Hanukkah blessings. Afterward, sing Hanerot Halalu, which praises the defense of the Temple.
TIP: On the first night, add a third blessing to commemorate having lived to celebrate the holiday again.
Step 4: Play dreidel Spin a dreidel, one of the holiday's most recognized symbols; the letters on its side are the initials of a phrase that commemorates the Hanukkah miracle.
Step 5: Fry it up Cook and eat foods fried in oil to further reference the ancient miracle. Try making latkes, or potato pancakes, and sufganiyot, Israel's version of the jelly donut.
Step 6: Exchange gifts Give presents to other people who celebrate Hanukkah. Then sit together, gaze at the candles, and reflect on the festival of lights.
FACT: The tradition of having a menorah on the White House lawn began in 1979.