Members of the Jewish community in Pasadena will be celebrating Hanukkah, also known as Chanukah or Festival of Lights, starting on Sunday, Dec. 18, with a menorah lighting ceremony and festival at Pasadena City Hall.
The menorah lighting ceremony will take place from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m., according to the Chabad of Pasadena.
This year, the eight days of Hanukkah will begin on the evening of Sunday, Dec. 18 and end on the evening of Monday, Dec. 26.
Chabad of Pasadena
Rabbi Chaim Hanoka, Executive Director of the Chabad of Pasadena, said other lighting ceremonies will be held at Paseo Colorado on Tuesday, Dec. 20, and at Westfield in Santa Anita on Wednesday, Dec. 21.
Chabad of Pasadena is also planning a Menorah Car Parade on Thursday, Dec. 22, to bring the spirit of Hanukkah to the streets of Pasadena.
“We have other celebrations going on, like we’re doing Hanukkah parties with some of the nursing homes in the area,” Hanoka said. “And then in people’s offices like on a smaller scale.”
Dec. 25, the last night of the menorah lighting, is Hanukkah Night Out for adults, with Kosher Chinese food at the Chabad of Pasadena, at 1090 E. Walnut Street, and fun entertainment.
Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center
At the Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center, members of the congregation will have a main synagogue event on Dec. 18 at the PJTC starting at 5:30 p.m. , but for the most part, people will be celebrating in their homes.
“We are also organizing members to get together in each other’s homes for candle lighting events,” Rabbi John Carrier, Senior Rabbi of the PJTC, said. “Those are private homes, but we’re encouraging members to invite one another to each other’s homes for candle lighting.”
On Monday evening, Dec. 19, Rabbi Aimee Gerace, PJTC Director of Education, will be leading a community Menorah Lighting in Sierra Madre, starting at 5 p.m.
The Tradition of Hanukkah
Jewish communities worldwide celebrate Hanukkah between the 25th day of the month of Kislev to the second day of the month of Tevet in the Hebrew calendar. It is an eight-day observance that commemorates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after a group of Jewish warriors defeated the occupying mighty Greek armies.
Families celebrate this holiday by lighting a special Hanukkah menorah, a candelabrum with eight branches, plus a ninth, the shammash or “server” used to light the others during Hanukkah. One candle is lit on the first night, two on the second, three on the third, through to the eighth night when all are lit.
A special prayer is recited during the lighting. While the candles burn, it is a time for songs and games, where children play with the four-sided toy called dreidel. Other customs during Hanukkah include gift-giving, especially to children, and decorating the home.
Food served throughout the festival include Hanukkah donuts, potato latkes or pancakes, Hanukkah candy, and rugelach, a type of traditional Jewish pastry.