CHINO HILLS (CBSLA) – The eight nights of Chanukah are underway, with celebrations beginning on Sunday evening.

(Photo credit: KCAL9)

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Jewish families across the globe gather around their menorahs to light a candle at sundown each night – a tradition that spans back to the 2nd Century B.C.

An additional candle is lit each night, until on the eighth and final night of the celebration, also known as the Festival of Lights, all of the candles are lit.

The menorah is lit in such a manner as a celebration of the rededication of the second temple in Jerusalem.

Legend tells of the uprising of the ancient Jewish people against Greek-Syrian rulers in 2nd Century B.C. When they reached the temple, they wanted to light the menorah, but only had enough olive oil to last one day – it lasted for eight.

Those eight days of light are now commemorated in the eight days of Chanukah. The ninth and longest candlestick, often featured in the middle of a menorah, is referred to as the “shamash” or “the helper.” It is used to light the other eight candlesticks.

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On the first night, both the shamash and the first branch are lit.

Rabbi Mendy Harlig, of Chino Hills, and his family are one of many families celebrating the holiday around the United States and the world.

He believes that the story of Chanukah is filled with many messages that could be beneficial for day-to-day use, even in modern times. One of those messages:

“The most powerful message of Chanukah is light over darkness. Especially times like now, where we find ourselves, where people may think that the world is so dark. … Focus on the positivity. Add in light, and that will – by itself – get rid of the darkness. Just like miracles happened back in the day, they still happen in our times.”

Along with the lighting of the menorah, Jewish families partake in other Chanukah traditions like frying latkes, playing dreidel, exchanging gifts and saying blessings and prayers over the menorah.

Chanukah, also referred to as Hanukkah, is slated to reach its final night on December 8.

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A public menorah lighting is scheduled to take place at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday evening at the Shops at Chino Hills.