Most people know Hanukkah as the Jewish holiday that begins a few weeks before Christmas.
But what exactly is Hanukkah and how did it became the Jewish community's December holiday?
Hannukkah is known as the "Festival of Lights." It starts on the 25th day of the Jewish calendar month of Kislev. That is a different day every year.
In 2012, Hanukkah begins on sundown on Saturday, Dec. 8. Last year, Hanukkah began on Dec. 20. In 2013, it begins on Nov. 27.
The holiday lasts for eight days. It's filled with blessings, games and festive foods. It celebrates the triumphs of ancient Jewish heroes, both military and religious.
According to factmonster.com, Hanukkah's tradition are tied to a victory by Jewish rebel armies known as the Maccabees nearly 2,200 years ago. The rebels had regained control of a temple on Jerusalem's Mount Moriah from Greek-Syrian rulers.
As the rebels prepared to rededicate the temple, they noticed there was only enough purified oil to kindle the temple light for a single day. However, the oil keep the light burning for eight days.
In Hebrew, the word Hanukkah means dedication. The Menorah is a candlestand with eight candles of the same height and one taller candle in the middle. The taller candle is used to light the others. The eight represent the eight days the Mount Moriah temple light stayed lit.
Many Hanukkah foods are cooked in oil. They include potato pancakes known as latkes and a jelly doughnut known as sufganiya.
Hanukkah is technically a minor Jewish holiday. However, its proximity to Christmas has elevated its status as Jewish families try to find activities in the midst of the Christian holiday season.
Some Hanukkah events scheduled in the East Bay this month can be found here.