By Dixie Allan
Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights or the Festival of Dedication, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the re-dedication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar.
A hanukkiyah is a candelabrum with eight candleholders in a row and a ninth candleholder set a little above the others. It's different from a menorah, which has seven branches and was used in the Temple before it was destroyed in 70 CE. A hanukkiyah is nevertheless a kind of menorah.
Every community has its unique Hanukkah traditions, but there are some traditions that are almost universally practiced. They are: lighting the hanukkiyah, spinning the dreidel and eating fried foods.
The date of Hanukkah this year is sunset, November 27 to sunset, December 5.
For more information on Hanukkah, visit Judaism on About.com.