Knoxville — Hanukkah began Sunday night, and seeing as only 0.3 percent of people in Knoxville are Jewish, we thought we'd run through some of the questions that we get the most so you can be more informed at your next mixed holiday gathering.
And once you've got this knowledge, head on down to Market Square on Monday night for a celebration of the holiday, Chanukah in the City, with the Knoxville Jewish community and city Mayor Madeline Rogero from 5 to 7 p.m.
They'll be lighting a 12-foot menorah and will also have latkes, donuts and chocolate coins. The event is free, and you can ice skate too, for a fee.
But on to the fun facts!
Does Hanukkah seem a little early to you this year?
Well, it's actually not based on the Gregorian calendar, so it's not always right around Christmas.
Instead, the holiday begins every year on 25th day of Kislev, a month in the Hebrew calendar
Why is it 8 days long?
It's all because of a miracle. A one-day supply of oil that was traditionally used to light a menorah in ancient times miraculously lasted eight days, long enough for a replacement supply to reach the temple where the menorah burned.
How do I spell the holiday?
It really doesn't matter as long as it sounds right. There are more than a dozen variations in English, according to the Oxford English Dictionary and Merriam-Webster.
Why are there so many spellings?
The holiday's name comes from Hebrew--which doesn't use the Latin alphabet. This means there's not an exact match for some sounds in Hebrew, which is why we ended up with all those different spellings.
Where does dreidel fit into the holiday?
Dreidel - the game with the spinny things and chocolate coins - has been around much longer than Hanukkah. But it became one of the best known symbols associated with Hanukkah because the Jews actually used it as a coverup when studying the Torah was against the law in ancient Greece. The Jewish people played with dreidels in order to fool the Greeks, quickly breaking out the dreidels and coins and hiding the Torah if they were caught.
Those are just a few of the basics, but now you know! L'Chaim!