No matter how you spell it, Hanukkah or Chanukah is a joyful time of year for Northern Virginia’s vibrant Jewish community. The eight-day holiday, known as the “festival of lights,” celebrates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem in the second century BCE. Today, the event is commemorated with menorah lightings, gift exchanges, and traditional foods. Get in on the merriment at these eight area events.
December 6, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
The Edlavitch DCJCC dubs it “Etsy IRL.” Shop homemade goods from independent artists and become one yourself. This year, the event offers two classes: a dried-flower keepsake class for $25 in which students create a dried bouquet in a bottle and a babka-making class for $30. In addition, there will be musical performances, a hot chocolate bar, and food available. Tickets to the all-ages market cost $6. 1529 16th St. NW, Washington, DC
December 13, 4:30-5:30 p.m.
PJ Library and other local organizations have partnered to create this virtual, multigenerational event to bring together children and their grandparents, wherever they live. A Zoom link will be sent to participants ahead of the event, which costs $8 per screen. Register by December 7 to receive materials in the mail that include a craft and stories. Each household should register so that they can receive the materials. Online
December 15, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Glide — or slide, as the case may be — into Hanukkah with some laps around the outdoor ice rink at Pentagon Row. The event includes the lighting of a 6-foot menorah and a free raffle. Food such as latkes, or potato pancakes, a traditional Hanukkah food, and kosher hot dogs will be available for purchase. Tickets, which include ice skate rental, cost $10 before December 8 and $13 afterward. 1201 S. Joyce St., Arlington
Join President Joe Biden and more than 5,000 others at the Ellipse, a 52-acre park just south of the White House, for the world’s most-covered Hanukkah event: the lighting of the National Menorah. President Jimmy Carter lit the tradition in 1979 in Lafayette Square, when he bent to light a silver menorah standing a couple of feet tall. As the event drew attention, it moved to the Ellipse in 1987, and today’s menorah stands 30 feet high. The lighting ceremony, which also includes musical performances, food, and entertainment, is free to attend, but tickets are required. The National Menorah is privately sponsored as a project of DC’s American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad).
December 18, 4:30-5:45 p.m.
With the theme “Unite for Light,” this event at One Loudoun welcomes the African High Flyers, an acrobatic group that performed on America’s Got Talent, plus a Holocaust survivor and several politicians. Of course, it also includes a menorah lighting, latkes and doughnuts (another traditional treat), and a chocolate gelt (coins) drop from a fire engine. It’s free to attend. 20626 Easthampton Plz., Ashburn
December 18, 5:30-7 p.m.
Make your way to the plaza in front of the Wish Tree – an interactive Christmas tree where children can bring their list to send to Santa – for a family-friendly, communitywide candle-lighting with music, a photo booth, and crafts for children. Goodies such as latkes, doughnuts, chocolate gelt, and dreidels (spinning tops used in a traditional Hanukkah game) will be available. 1602 Village Market Blvd., Leesburg
December 20, 6 p.m.
Admission to the Hanukkah celebration sponsored by Chabad Lubavitch of Alexandria-Arlington is free, but registration is required. Look on as the candles on a 9-foot menorah are lit and nosh on pre-packaged latkes and doughnuts. Hot cocoa, chocolate gelt, and dreidels will be distributed. 1307 N. Highland St., Arlington
December 20, 5-6 p.m.
Gather in Strawberry Park at the center of the sprawling shopping, dining, and apartment-living mecca in Merrifield to watch the lighting of a large menorah in partnership with the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia. Grab last-minute Hanukkah gifts at one of the area’s 30 stores and dinner at one of its 36 eateries. Strawberry Park, Fairfax
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