Hanukkah Begins at Sundown
Area famililes plan to celebrate the 8-day Festival of Lights at home and at local Temples this weekend.
Hanukkah, which starts at sundown tonight, is more than simply a celebration of a great victory. The eight days of Hanukkah celebrates a miracle and an opportunity to shine a light onto the world, according to Rachmiel Langer, an area spiritual director and counselor.
Hanukkah is a relatively recent holiday, instituted about 2,100 years ago, she said. Hanukkah is not dictated in the Torah, but is a wonderful family and home focused holiday, she added.
Many Framingham residents will celebrate the holiday at home with family traditions.
"Tonight my family will celebrate the holiday the way that we always do," said Cindi Muller. After dinner, the family gathers in front of the family menorahs. Muller and her husband Dain have a son and a daughter.
"Each child has their own menorah that they like to light themselves," said Muller. "Together, as a family, we will recite the blessings, as we welcome the beginning of the holiday and light the first candle."
After the lighting of the candles, the children are given a new dreidel and a bag of chocolate gelt (coins), Muller said.
"Traditionally, in our family, we give books as a gift on the first night," she said.
"Over the coming days, we will gather each night to light the menorah together," Muller said. The family will attend a Community Menorah Ceremony in Ashland's Town Square and sing Hanukkah songs with their congregation on Friday.
"My extended family will gather together near the end of the holiday for a large family dinner, where we have a Yankee swap for the adults and gifts for the children."
At Temple Beth Am, a Shabbat Hanukkah dinner is scheduled for Friday at 7. After the dinner, the fourth grade class and junior choir will assist in leading prayers for the Shabbat Hanukkah. On Sunday, Dec. 5 the Temple is holding a Family Hanukkah party. Sha'arei Shalom, in Ashland, is also having a Hanukkah party on Sunday.
"During Hanukkah, we are called not just to remember the miracles, but to re-enter the sanctity of looking for light in the greatest darkness." Langer says. "We light our candles during the darkest time of the year, and think about how at any time of darkness in our own lives, we can find that light to show us the way."
Freelance writer Matt LaBarre contributed to this report.