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Chanukah in the Algarve

The Jewish Community of the Algarve will meet in Portimão for a picnic lunch on Sunday, December 17, which will fall on the second day of Chanukah, the Festival of Lights.

Ralf Pinto has organised this gathering, where picnickers bring latkes, or potato pancakes, and fried donuts in oil. There will also be a communal lighting of Chanukah menorahs, the candelabras used to commemorate the eight days of Chanukah. A total of four candles will be lit on Sunday at the picnic.

Chanukah celebrations begin on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev, between December 15 at sunset and December 22. Chanukah or Hanukah is a celebration of the victory of the Maccabees and the rededication of the Jerusalem Temple.

It also commemorates the miracle that occurred when Judah and his followers lit the eternal light, known as the N’er Tamid, which is present in every Jewish house of worship. Once lit, the oil lamp should never be extinguished, but they discovered that they only had a tiny jug of oil, with only enough for a single day. The oil lamp was filled and lit. Then a miracle occurred as the tiny amount of oil stayed lit not for one day, but for eight.