Today is the first full day of Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights.
While most of us in the United States are preparing for Christmas, the Jewish people of this country have been getting ready to celebrate Hanukkah.
In Binghamton, there is a wonderful museum in a historic mansion that opens for a month every year, this year from November 15 to December 27. Run by volunteers, Hanukkah House is free (but donations are accepted). You can search my blog for other posts about Hanukkah House, such as this one.
One thing that Hanukkah House displays each year is a wonderful display of hanukiah.
A hanukiah is a nine-branched candelabrum lit during the eight-day holiday of Hanukkah, which commemorates a miracle that happened over 2,000 years ago. It differs from a menorah in that the 9th candle holder is held higher than, or is aligned with, the other 8 candles.
blog post for the whole nine yards, so to speak) was only supposed to last for one day, but the menorah kept burning for the eight days it took to get a new supply. Now, many of these use candles (some are electric) instead of oil. This one is using beeswax candles. The candles can be white, or of many colors.
The ninth candle, or the shamash, is used to light the other candles. On the first day, my tradition dictates one candle plus the shamash is lit. On the second night, two candles, and the shamash, and so forth.
The candles are lit from right to left. By the eighth day, all eight candles are lit by the shamash and it is a beautiful sight. While lighting the candles, two prayers (three on the first night) are recited or sung.
A festival of lights is what we need in today's world - a symbol of the victory of light over te force of darkness.