Mayor of London to join Chanukah celebrations in Trafalgar Square
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson will join members of the Jewish community and other Londoners in Trafalgar Square tomorrow evening (Tuesday 16 December) for the annual celebrations to mark Chanukah, the Jewish festival of lights.
It is the sixth time the Mayor has joined the Chanukah in the Square celebrations and Londoners from all communities and faiths are invited to attend the free event
A special ceremony will see the first two lights lit on the giant Menorah, the largest in Europe, to mark the first night of Chanukah, which this year runs from 16 – 28 December. The Mayor will light the middle light (shamash) first, which is used to light each of the others over subsequent nights.
The event will feature live music, including choirs from Akiva School and Wolfson Hillel School and the traditional Chanukah song Ma'oz Tzur (Rock of Ages). Donuts and mini-menorahs will be distributed amongst the crowd by volunteers from the Jewish Leadership Council and and Chabad. Chanukah gelt will be given out to children attending the event.
The annual community event is supported by the Mayor and organised by the Jewish Leadership Council, London Jewish Forum and Chabad-Lubavitch UK.
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: 'Chanukah in the Square is now firmly established as a key celebration of London's festive season and symbolic of the Jewish community's important role in the life of the capital. Chanukah carries a message that should resonate for people from all communities and faiths. It celebrates the victory of the Jewish people over oppression, a potent symbol of the struggle for justice and liberty, which are fundamental to our way of life. To Jewish people in London and elsewhere, my very best wishes for Chanukah. Chag Sameach.'
Event: Menorah lighting ceremony for Chanukah
Date: Tuesday 16 December 2014
Venue: Trafalgar Square, London
Notes to editors
1. The Menorah lighting ceremony will start at 6pm and finish at 7pm.
2. Chanukah is the eight day Jewish festival of lights. It commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire in ancient Judea.
An eight branched candelabrum (a "Menorah") is lit, with an additional candle added each night during the 8 day festival. Oily foodstuffs such as doughnuts are eaten.
Chanukah whilst a relatively minor religious festival has increased in prominence in the modern era due to its proximity to other non-Jewish festivals during the winter months.
3. Symbolically, Chanukah is often considered to be a representation of the victory of light versus darkness, with a focus on national liberation of the Jewish people and the protection of broad religious freedoms. The Menorah was constructed for Trafalgar Square by Metallico and Ellis & Moore and designed by Mendy Levy in 2007.