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Annual Ceremony in DC Marks First Day of Hanukkah

Hanukkah Menorah
Hanukkah Menorah
Thousands are expected to gather today in Washington, DC, for the 38th annual lighting ceremony of the National Hanukkah menorah.
The Hanukkiah (Hebrew for Hanukkah menorah) is lit at the Ellipse across from the White House every December – a tradition first started by President Jimmy Carter in 1979. It is the world's largest Hanukiah and has become an international symbol of the celebration of Hanukkah, also called the Festival of Lights.
The holiday lasts eight days, commemorating when the Israelites recaptured their holy temple from Syrian-Greek forces more than 2,500 years ago.
When they entered the temple, they discovered there was only enough purified oil to keep the eternal light, a flame that was never meant to go out, lit for one more day. But it stayed alight for eight days, enough to prepare more purified oil.
Now, Jews around the world celebrate the miracle by adding one candle each night until all eight are lit. A ninth candle, called the shamash (servant), is used to light the others.
You can watch today's ceremony live at 4 p.m. here on CBN.com.

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