Hanukkah, a “festival of lights,” begins on Tuesday at sundown, marking the start of an eight-day celebration that includes a nightly candle lighting and traditional fried foods.

The holiday marks a “great miracle” that is said to have occurred in the second century BCE, when a small group of Jews defeated the army of the Syrian-Greeks, who ruled the land, and reclaimed the Holy Temple.

The Jews found just one small jar of oil that had not been destroyed and though it should have only been enough to light their candelabra, the menorah, for one day, it lasted eight days.

Each year, Jewish people across the world celebrate the holiday by lighting one additional candle each day in a menorah. Those celebrating also play dreidel, a game with a four-sided spinning top, and they eat traditional foods, such as potato pancakes (latkes) and jelly-filled doughnuts (sufganiyot).


Celebrating Hanukkah in the Boston area or want to learn more about it? Here are some events you can attend:

Grand menorah lighting ceremony: A partnership of local Chabad organizations will host its 34th annual Hanukkah celebration on the Boston Common, where they will light a 22-foot menorah. They dub it the tallest in New England. The event will include live music and Hanukkah treats for children. Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Councilor Josh Zakim, and Israeli Consulate Yehuda Yaacov will be in attendance. (Dec. 12, 4 p.m.)

Daily menorah lighting on the Common: Chabad will also have daily candlelighting at their menorah on the Boston Common. The times are slightly different each day, depending on sunset and other time restrictions. (Dec. 12-14, 18-19: 5 p.m.; Dec. 15: 2:30 p.m.; Dec. 16: 7 p.m.; Dec. 17: 4 p.m.)

Hanukkah celebration at the Museum of Fine Arts: The MFA in Boston will host a holiday celebration open to the public (MFA members and non-members are welcome). The evening will include music, tours, and a community candle lighting. There will also be family-friendly activities available, including face painting and coloring, a scavenger hunt, and interactive reading. (Dec. 13, 4:30 p.m.)


Frozen Chanukah: For the third year, celebrate the holiday with ice skating at this Kendall Square event inspired by the movie “Frozen.” Olaf is even expected to make an appearance. (Dec. 17, 11 a.m.)

Menorah lighting in the Massachusetts State House : Governor Charlie Baker and other state politicians will join Rabbi Rachmiel Liberman in lighting an 18-foot menorah in the Grand Staircase Rotunda. The menorah is so tall that officials plan to use a scissor lift to reach the top. The ceremony will feature music by the United States Navy Band and vocal presentations by students of the local Schechter Day School. (Dec. 12, 4 p.m..)

Grand Hummer Chanukah Parade: The Shaloh House in Brighton will continue its 7-year tradition of celebrating in the street. Four Hummer Stretch-Limos will lead a parade of cars topped with lighted menorahs around the streets of downtown. Onlookers are invited to attend a lighting ceremony at the Shaloh House before the procession. (Dec. 19, 6 p.m.)

Cambridge menorah lighting: Mayor E. Denise Simmons will join attendees at the Cambridge Common for a family-friendly night of live music, latkes, and doughnuts. (Dec. 17, 3:30 p.m.)

First night of Chanukah Celebration: Beth Menachem Chabad of Newton will host its annual lighting ceremony, followed by an LED light show. The event will include activities, live music, food, and a chance to meet the “Dreidel Man.” (Dec. 12, 6 p.m.)

Felicia Gans can be reached at felicia.gans@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @FeliciaGans.