Hanukkah is the Jewish "Feast of Lights". The name is pronounced "Hanna-ka". The feast starts on the 25th day of the month of Kislev, according to the Jewish calendar. That could be any day from the end of November to middle December on the Gregorian calendar. Hanukkah lasts 8 days, during which time a varying number of candles are lit on the menorah (Hanukkah candelabrum). Some light a candle on each of the 8 days, with the ninth candle used to light the other ones. Food fried in oil, is considered Hanukkah food, with the doughnut a definite favourite.
Between 198 BC and 165 BC the Seleucid Empire (one of two empires that followed the split of Alexander the Great's Macedonian Empire) annexed and ruled over Israel. The Seleucids were forcing the Jews to become Helenists, doing stuff like slaughtering pigs on the temple altar Jerusalem. This brought about the 8 year Macabean revolt that ended in 165 BC. The temple was re-dedicated and with a new altar. Judah Macabee - leader of the revolt - then ordered a feast of 8 days. During this feast, according to Jewish tradition, there was only one can of sacred oil (dedicated and sealed by the high priest) left for the feast. It would take 8 days to do what is required to have more sacred oil. By a miracle, the single can that could only last for one day, managed to last the 8 days. Hanukkah is dedicated to the succesful revolt and the miracle of the lights.
Not related to Hanukkah: The period, from 165 BC to 63 BC was the time of the Hasmonean Jewish Kingdom. The independence of the Hasmoneans was recognised by the Romans. This kingdom ended when two brothers contesting to be the ruler, turned to the Roman Empire to settle the dispute. The Romans promptly reacted by annexing Judeah, after massacring twelve thousand of Jerusalem's inhabitants, during a siege. This led to the state of affairs, where the Jews considered their Saviour to be the person that will save them from the Romans, instead of a religious saviour.
The main picture shows candles lit in front of an appartment building (think low, not as high as in NY) as part of the commemoration feast. Although, the candle holders in the glass boxes are not proper menorahs. In the bottom box you can see 7 candles lit and the lighting candle to the left in the box. We were met by SA woman doing volunteer work in Jerusalem and she explained Hanukkah, took us for a tour of a neighbourhood, with lots of candles, ending up at what she reffered to as her favourite Hanukkah food shop.