VIDEO – Jewish communities around the world have begun celebrating Hanukkah, otherwise known as the Festival of Lights, which traditionally begins with the lighting of the menorah.
Video courtesy of jn1.tv
In the United States, the US National Menorah was lit near the White House, continuing a tradition that was started in 1979 by President Jimmy Carter.
In Israel, crowds turned out to watch the nine-branched candelabra lighting ceremony in front of the Western Wall, the holiest site in Judaism and the last remaining remnant of the ancient Second Temple.
Jews in Berlin also lit their menorah in front of the iconic Brandenburg Gate.
Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the second century BC victory of the Maccabees in a guerilla revolt in ancient Judea against armies of the Seleucid Empire.
The menorah is a key part of the festival because according to Jewish tradition, the Maccabees found only enough ritually pure oil to light a ceremonial lamp in the Temple in Jerusalem for one day, but the oil miraculously burned for eight days.
This year, the festival also coincides with the American holiday Thanksgiving, an occurrence that isn't supposed to happen again for some 79,000 years.