Celebrating Hanukkah: A holiday about festivity and community

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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) Jewish families are celebrating Hanukkah this week.

To celebrate, participants light a menorah, say special prayers, sing songs and eat fried foods like potato latkes. Children often play with a dreidel.

Even though the holiday is all about spreading light, there has been a lot of public anti-Semitism making the news, including a gunman killing people inside a Pittsburgh temple.

A local family tells us it's even more important for them to celebrate and be proud of what they believe in.

"We are celebrating our values and who we are. The ability to influence others and share the message and spread the light -- that's the secret of the oil," said Draizy Junik, the program director Chabad Vermont.

Junik says this is also a time for her to be doing as many good deeds as possible.

"This is a time where we try to increase as much light as possible. In a room of darkness, a little candle dispels so much of it. So it's really a time to put forth as much as we can," she said.

These good deeds include sharing the message of the story of the oil and spreading hope and joy.

Traditionally, the menorah is lit at night. Nighttime is when the days start over, so Thursday night will mark the fifth day of Hanukkah.