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The next overlap of Hanukkah and Christmas will be in 2027.
The reason for the lights is so passers-by should see them and be reminded of the holiday's miracle. The most common tradition of Hanukkah is the lighting of a commemorative menorah. Jews typically recite blessings during this ritual and display the menorah in a window to remind others of the miracle that inspired the holiday. The Jews rededicated the temple and celebrated for eight days. When the Maccabees re-dedicated the temple, they could only find enough pure oil for one night. "When the Holy Temple was reclaimed, it is said that there was very little oil to light the Hanukkiah, the nine-branched candelabrum, which needed to stay lit for eight days. The Jewish priests, among them Judah the Hammer, revolted against the Syrians and expelled them from the temple", Goldstein said. They celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah.
This year, the first full day of Hanukkah, the Jewish religious observance, occurs on the same day as Christmas.
"There is no better time for us to be celebrating all together with everything that's going on in this world", Halperin said.
Lana, 29, grew up Jewish but that hasn't stopped her from loving everything about Christmas.
Audrey Zinman, of Kingston, said she has wonderful memories of the holiday, which was spent surrounded by family. The dreidel (pronounced "DRAY-del") has four sides, each with a Hebrew letter that stands for the saying "a great miracle happened there" - "there" being Jerusalem. But sometimes they coincide, and this is one of those years, so when Christians awake to their holy holiday on Sunday, Jews also will be celebrating.
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New York City businessman Mark Carr is credited with opening America's first Christmas tree lot in that city in 1851. Locally, recycled trees are sent to processing plants that turn them into compost, which is used in agriculture.
Both include, as one aspect of the holiday, the giving of gifts to those we love and cherish, especially to children for whom Christmas and Hanukkah are a special time of year. It combines ancient tradition with a modern twist, he said.
"If you ask me, it's a pretty universal message". When they're planning their holiday gifts, they decide which ones will be for Christmas and which ones for Hanukkah.
On its website, the Alaska Jewish Center claims that its community celebration attracts over 1,000 participants each year and features exhibits, game and art stations, a giant ice sculpture menorah, and a dreidel piñata. In years past, Schmukler said the lighting was done on Civic Plaza in Downtown Albuquerque.
Kevin Gillen, a practicing Catholic in a Jewish household in Mount Airy, will slip away to midnight Mass after lighting a menorah and making latkes with his wife and daughter. The battle in the second century BCE was fought for religious freedom.
Volunteer Amy Lapidus-Pedram said the celebration holds even more significance right now because of the division among people in the country.
"The Maccebean action would be to reach out to people outside your own group", Zars-Wagman said.
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