The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah is celebrated in Rome with the lighting of candles in a menorah (candelabrum) in Piazza Barberini. The first candle will be lit on Sun 21 Dec at 18.00 in the presence of Rome's mayor Walter Veltroni, the city's chief Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni, and the Israeli ambassador Ehud Gol. One candle will be lit every evening until Sat 27 Dec.
The story of Hanukkah dates back to the Greek conquest of the middle east in the second century BC, when Judaism was suppressed and the temple in Jerusalem was profaned. The Jews rebelled and the temple was rededicated, but oil was needed for the menorah, which was supposed to burn every night. There was only enough oil left for one night, yet it burned for eight nights; the festival commemorates this miracle.