The season is upon us, and with that comes a primer on Hanukkah so you can be in the 'holiday know.' It is common knowledge that Hanukkah lasts eight days and that candles are lit each night, with the number lit being the night of the holiday. Back in 190 B.C., the Greeks occupied Israel and imposed their will. They required that Jews help finance their military through taxes and house their soldiers in their homes. When the Greeks demanded that Jews sacrifice a pig to Greek idols, a line was crossed. In 166 B.C., a group of Hasmoneans led by Mattathias had enough, and violence ensued. Mattathias and his five sons led the Maccabees in guerrilla warfare against a much better-equipped Greek army. After Mattathias was killed, the Maccabees were led by Judah, Mattathias' son. Through guile, courage and hit-and-run tactics, the Maccabees eventually defeated the large army, though it took five years. The Jews returned to the Temple and shattered the statue of Zeus. After the flame was lit, one night's worth of oil lasted eight days. Hence, Hanukkah is referred to as the 'festival of lights,' and we light candles for eight nights to celebrate the many miracles -- both the long-lasting oil and the defeat of the mighty Greek army. Its meaning has been interpreted as a symbol of the power of light over darkness. Some Hanukkah Traditions Food: Latkes, fried potato pancakes made of shredded potatoes with onions, are eaten. There are latke variations, including sweet potato, broccoli, zucchini, cottage cheese and much more. Apple sauce and sour cream typically accompany the latke. Dreidel: A betting game is played by spinning a four-sided 'dreidel.' Each side has a Hebrew letter to remind us that 'A big miracle happened here,' where the first letter of each significant word is displayed. Players settle their bets based on how their dreidel lands. Singing: Blessings are said, and songs are sung during candle lighting. It is still my family's favorite part of the holiday. Some songs are very simple such as 'Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel,' and others are sung in Hebrew, in rounds, and require more knowledge. It wasn't viewed initially as a time to exchange presents; in some homes, there can even be a gift for each night. I won't opine my thoughts. That was the date that the Jews took control and rededicated their Temple. The use of the Hebrew calendar explains why Hanukkah falls on different dates in the Gregorian calendar. For some, it is a time to look inward and apply a larger purpose to the 'Festival of lights.' American folk trio Peter, Paul & Mary proposed their interpretation with their song 'Light One Candle.' They suggest a universal candle representing justice, hope and peace. I was taught to view the holiday through a Jewish lens of history and heritage. He shared that for us to do God's work, we need to recognize the spark of the divine within us and treat fellow humans accordingly. That would be an excellent takeaway for this holiday of light.