Hanukkah is an eight day Jewish festival celebrated on the 25th day of Kislev as per the Hebrew calendar.
Hanukkah 2014 begins in the evening of Tuesday, December 16 and ends in the evening of Wednesday, December 24.
According to legends, when the holy temple was being rededicated, the priests could find only one jar of oil that could be used for lighting the menorah. However, it turned out that this oil lasted for not juts one day but eight days in total.
This is how the tradition of kindling a light for eight days became a tradition in this festival. Hanukah is derived from the Hebrew word Khanu, which means 'and they rested'.
Other important elements of celebrating this festival are singing of special songs like Ma'oz Tzur, reciting the prayer Hallel, eating foods fried in oil like latkes and sufganiyot, and dairy foods, playing the game of dreidel and giving Hanukkah gelt.
Hanukah rituals are observed throughout the eight days; while some of them are family rituals others involve the community. Special additions are done to the daily prayer service with the inclusion of a section to the after meal blessings.
There is no obligation during this time to refrain from activities which are prohibited on the Sabbath. People go to work as they normally do, but return a bit early in the evening to lit the flames at nightfall