Sunday was the first night of Hanukkah, or the Jewish Festival of Lights, a holiday commemorating the time when the Maccabean Jews regained control of Jerusalem from a Syrian-Greek army and rededicated the temple there.
The holiday is celebrated with food and drink, but not just any foods. Oily dishes such as latkes, also known as potato pancakes, and fried doughnut called sufganiyot, are favorites. That’s because the holiday celebrates the miracle of the oil.
According to the Jewish Talmud, after the Maccabees drove the forces of the Syrian-Greek monarchy from Jerusalem in the second century BC they found only enough oil in the Second Temple to keep the menorah burning for one day. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days until new oil was made available.
Today, Jews everywhere light menorahs on each of the eight nights of Hanukkah and like many holidays, food and drink are an important part of the tradition. For more on that, check out this Huffington Post piece for some delicious recipes for the holiday.