The Festival of Lights is coming soon! Several organizations in Northern Virginia offer events for the community to celebrate the winter holidays, and Hanukkah of course is one of the most festive occasions. While the holiday is not considered a high holy day (as Yom Kippur or Rosh Hashanah are, for example), it has in recent times become a popular event and an opportunity to celebrate Jewish traditions in a fun way. Hanukkah celebrates the miracle that only one vial of oil was found with just enough oil to illuminate the Temple lamp for one day, but it lasted for eight full days. You can celebrate for longer than that with more than a dozen Hanukkah events in Northern Virginia!
To learn more about Hanukkah (also spelled as Chanukah or in other ways) and its significance visit the History Channel or the Chabad website. To celebrate Hanukkah locally, you have several public menorah lighting events with family fun. In 2019, Chanukah takes place between December 22 and December 30.
Even if you’re not Jewish, you are welcome at just about all of these events, where the public is encouraged to join in on the fun. These free community celebrations include the lighting of a huge menorah along with live entertainment and treats such as potato latkes, donuts, and chocolate gelt. Large menorah lightings take place in Fairfax, Herndon, Springfield, Leesburg, Alexandria, and other locations. There are also special activities such as Chanukah-themed ice skating, trampoline jumping, crafting events, and more. Some of the events also feature music, other live entertainment, and raffles.
Most of these events are free, but some have small fees for activities. See details on these in our annual Hanukkah Guide. There are more than a dozen events to choose from! (Keep in mind that some events take place rain or shine while others are subject to change; as always, check with the official websites for updates.)