Hanukkah starts this year with the first candle on Sunday night, going on for eight nights until the last candle burns on Dec. 10.
Also known as the Jewish Festival of Lights, Hanukkah celebrates the rededication of the Temple by the Maccabees after their victory over the Syrians.
Customs include lightning the nine-branch menorah, playing dreidel games, singing songs and eating chocolate gelt. Fried foods like jelly doughnuts are eaten to celebrate the miracle of the oil in the Temple's lamp that lasted eight nights, even though there was only enough oil for one night.
Here's how communities around Tampa bay are celebrating.
Chase the Dreidel Run: How fast does a dreidel move? Find out as runners chase a guy in a giant dreidel costume as he runs down the streets on this 5K run at 4 p.m. Sunday. There will be a bounce house, crafts and a potato pancake after-party to get ready for Hanukkah season. Congregation B'nai Israel, 300 58th St. N, St. Petersburg. $25 advance, $36 day of. (727) 324-8022. Sign up at tinyurl.com/chasethedreidel2018.
Hanukkah at Sundial: The Chabad Jewish Center of Greater S. Petersburg and the Sundial shopping district are hosting a free party in downtown St. Petersburg from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Monday. Mayor Rick Kriseman will be on hand to help light the menorah. There will be a concert by Sam Glaser, and families will be entertained by the Skyriders High Flying Trampoline Show and the Hanukkah Gelt Drop. 153 Second Ave. N, St. Petersburg.
Let Your Light Shine: Bring nonperishable food items and join the lighting of the large menorah with a sing-along of Hanukkah songs, dreidel games and a latke bar, 5:30 p.m. Dec. 9. Congregation B'nai Israel, 300 58th St. N, St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 381-4900.
Grand Family Hanukkah Celebration: Chabad of Clearwater lights a menorah at this festival with a light dairy dinner, live music by Tali Yess, mad science show, gelt drop from the Clearwater Fire Department, latkes, doughnuts and dreidels and a prize wheel. Free. 4 to 6 p.m. Dec. 9. On the beachwalk in front of the Surf Style Mega Store, 311 S Gulfview Blvd., Clearwater Beach. (727) 265-2770.
Wiregrass Grand Hanukkah Celebration: Light up the night with Chabad at this annual celebration with a large menorah lighting, train rides, DJ dancing, face painting, games, a stilt walker, hot latkes and doughnuts. 5 p.m. Dec. 9. the Shops at Wiregrass, 28211 Paseo Drive, Wesley Chapel. Free. (813) 642-3244.
Vodka Latke: The biggest social event of the year for young Jewish singles and couples is always held on Christmas Eve. The night includes food, games and two drinks followed by a cash bar. Benefits the Tampa Jewish Federation. 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Dec. 24. Cavu, 1601 N Franklin St., Tampa. $45 advance, $54 at door. (813) 769-4723. jewishtampa.com.
Messianic Jewish celebrations
Hanukkah Celebration: The lighting of a 10-foot menorah with potato latkes, songs, learning, dancing, games and other activities. Bring your own menorah and candles and join in a simultaneous lighting ceremony. Free. 7 p.m. Friday. Beth-El Shalom Messianic Congregation, 1701 29th Ave. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 345-7777.
Hanukkah Celebration: Celebrate the season with the lighting of a 10-foot menorah, potato latkes, Hanukkah songs, dancing, playing games and learning about traditions of the holiday. Bring your own menorah and candles to participate in a united lighting ceremony. Free. 5 p.m. Dec. 8. Beth-El Shalom Messianic Congregation, 6209 Congress St., New Port Richey. (727) 375-7502.