Better to light a candle than curse the darkness
Local officials lit candles set up in public places, while families displayed the nine-candle lamps, called menorahs. The National Menorah in Washington, D.C. will be lit on Sunday.
Hanukkah, also known as the festival of lights, commemorates the Jewish uprising in the second century B.C. against the Greek-Syrian kingdom. That kingdom had tried to impose its culture on Jews and adorn the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem with statues of Greek gods.
The holiday lasts eight days. According to tradition, when the Jews rededicated the Temple in Jerusalem, a single vial of oil, enough for one day, burned miraculously for eight.
For many Jewish people, the holiday symbolizes the triumph of good over evil. Observant Jews light a candle each night to mark the holiday. Oily foods are eaten to commemorate the oil miracle, hence the ubiquitous fried doughnuts and potato pancakes, known as latkes.
In Israel, children play with four-sided spinning tops, or dreidels, decorated with the letters that form the acronym "A great miracle happened here." Outside of Israel, the saying is "A great miracle happened there." Israeli students get time off from school for the holiday, when families gather each night to light the candles, eat and exchange gifts.
Hanukkah — which means dedication — is one of the most popular holidays in Israel, and has a high rate of observance.
In Florida, Gov. Rick Scott celebrated the beginning of Hanukkah with a menorah-lighting ceremony in his office at the state Capitol in Tallahassee.
"The story of Hanukkah reminds us that confidence in one's identity and hope for the future are powerful forces that cannot be defeated — even in the darkest of times. Hanukkah is also a time to reiterate our support for the people of Israel," Scott said, adding that he and his wife are "keeping our friends in Israel in our prayers for a future of peace."
Critical thinking challenge: “It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness” encourages people to do good things – even small things – rather than complain about bad things. Can you think of a something when one person – or many people – did a small thing to make a big problem smaller?
Define these words: adorn, vial
- Posted on December 9, 2012