It seems that Jewish Holidays are never on time. They are either early or late. This year, I hear people saying that Hanukkah is early, although the Holiday can actually begin as early as late November.
The first night of Hanukkah began this evening. Since it is a Friday, the first candle was lit before sundown, when the Sabbath begins. A second "helper" candle, the Shamash, was also lit and is used to light the other Hanukkah candles.
The "Festival of Lights", as it is also known, commemorates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem and the "miracle of the oil.". When the Maccabees entered the Temple, they only found enough "pure" oil to light the eternal flame for one day. Miraculously, it burned for eight days, until the oil could be re-supplied.
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