WASHINGTON - President Joe Biden recognized the start of Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, in a statement from the White House Sunday.
"Over these eight nights, Jews in the United States, Israel, and around the globe will proudly celebrate Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights," he said in a statement. "They will light the menorah, spin the dreidel, eat latkes, and tell of how the Maccabees, guided by an abiding belief in their Creator and an inextinguishable commitment to their faith, prevailed against all odds."
"From our family to yours, and from the People’s House to your own homes, Jill and I wish you and your loved ones a Chanukah Sameach, a Happy Hanukkah!" the statement continued.
The eight-day holiday honors the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem during the second century B.C. following victory over the Syrians. Celebrated with the nightly lighting of the menorah, it usually falls in December but sometimes it begins in late November.
Hanukkah is more of a minor holiday in Israel, though it is still a festive occasion marked by communal candle-lighting gatherings, school vacation and the consumption of deep-fried and often elaborately decorated doughnuts known as sufganiyot.
In the U.S., the holiday can take on a Christmas-like quality in some Jewish communities.
The famous "Hanukkah House," a home adorned with Jewish-themed decor in Houston, Texas, lit up in blues and whites Sunday to celebrate the eight-night holiday.
Homeowner Philip Grosman said the tradition started when his daughter was born 14 years ago. His video shared on November 26 showed the house decked out with large spinning dreidels, several menorahs, a "mensch on a bench," a Hanukkah-themed inflatable llama and bear, and more.
"It’s a lot of work, but it is worth it every year to see the smiles," Grosman said to the Jewish Herald-Voice on November 22. "Every time I come out here, someone tells me that they have family coming from out of town or out of the country and they want to bring them to see it."
Music synched with the light show accompanied the display, according to the Jewish Herald-Voice.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.