Yet another celebration – the Jewish Hanukkah – started in the capital
“Happy Hanukkah!” sounds today in multinational Vilnius. The Mayor of capital Remigijus Šimašius symbolically proclaimed yet another important holiday together with the capital’s Jewish community – the festival of Jewish Hanukkah started on the 12th of December throughout the world and will continue for eight days till the 20th of December. Hanukkiah, which is one of the symbols of this holiday, symbolizes to the Jews the victory of light over darkness and goodness over evil. Each day during the festival Jews light up one candle on a traditional candlestick at home, until all eight candles are lit.
The Jewish community gathered at Vincas Kudirka Square lit the Great Hanukkiah with the Mayor of the city. Sholom Ber Krinsky, Rabin of the Jewish religious community “Chassidie Chabad Lubavitch”, Shmuel Levin, Chair of the Vilnius Religious Community, Faina Kukliansky, President of the Jewish Community of Lithuania, and other honourable guests attended the ceremony.
In his greeting speech to the gathered guests, R. Šimašius said: “Today is the day when we are lighting Hanukkiah remembering that the presence of sufficient courage and strength is a good recipe for the truth and goodness to overcome evil. Congratulations on this occasion!”
During the event, the Mayor of Vilnius was presented with a symbolic Jewish community award “Jerusalem’s Hand”.
Hanukkiahs are built all over the world and reflect the idea of religious freedom of all mankind. They have been lit in Vilnius for several years now. Jews perceive the seven candles of Hanukkiah as a symbol of the wisdom of man, or the seven days during which the world was created, while the eighth candle symbolizes the light given by God, or the Sabbath. The tradition of lighting a candle on the occasion of Hanukkah reaches back to Biblical times.
Hanukkah is the historic Jewish festival commemorating the events occurred in the 2nd century BC: a Jewish rebellion against the Seleucid empire and the miracle of the cruse of oil, which took place in the Jerusalem Temple, where a tiny amount of oil for lighting candles lasted for as many as eight days. Traditions in commemoration of the miracle of Hanukkah include eating oily food, playing with teetotums or dreidels and lighting up the candles of Hanukkiah in the evening.
חג חנוכה שמח – Happy Hanukkah!