Over the eight days of Hanukkah, Jews in Augusta and worldwide will light candles on menorahs at home, in synagogues and at gatherings including Tuesday’s Menorah Lighting Celebration, an annual event at the Augusta Common.
It begins with a parade of cars bearing large, lighted menorahs. The cars will make their way down Washington Road before the start of the event at 6:30 p.m.
Participants in the free event will light a 7-foot menorah, sing Hanukkah songs and eat latkes.
The event also includes a pyrotechnic show and gifts for children in attendance.
“It is the first year for pyrotechnic,” said Rabbi Zalman Fischer of Chabad of Augusta, which has held an annual menorah lighting in Augusta for 15 years. “Hanukkah is all about adding light to the world and will try to incorporate a Hanukkah message in the show.”
Every year, Chabad of Augusta invites participants to collect items for an annual Hanukkah toy drive for hospitalized children.
It’s a way to share a bit of Hanukkah joy with the children at the Medical College of Georgia Children’s Medical Center, Fischer said.
The holiday celebrates the victory of the ancient Jews over Syrian Greeks who tried to wipe out Judaism in the second century B.C.
The word Hanukkah means “dedication.”
Lighting the menorah is a reminder of the miracle that occurred when it came time to rededicate the holy temple.
The Talmud records that the Jews found just enough oil to keep a fire burning one night. The lamp, however, burned for eight days.
This year, Hanukkah is celebrated from Dec. 20 to Dec. 28.