Posted at: 12/08/2012 5:35 PM
By: Associated Press
Members of the Jewish community around the world are ushering in the eight-day Hanukkah festival on Saturday evening, lighting the first candles of ceremonial lamps that symbolize triumph over oppression.
In Israel, families gathered after sundown for the lighting, eating traditional snacks of potato latkes and doughnuts and exchanging gifts.
Local officials lit candles set up in public places, while families displayed the nine-candle menorahs in their windows or in special windproof glass boxes outside.
Hanukkah commemorates the Jewish uprising in the second century B.C. against the Greek-Syrian kingdom, which had tried to impose its culture on the Jewish people and adorn the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem with statues of Greek gods.
Also known as the festival of lights, the holiday lasts eight days because according to tradition, when the Jews rededicated the Temple in Jerusalem, a single vial of oil, enough for one day, burned miraculously for eight.