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Menorahcade to Kick off Hanukkah in East Hampton

Festival of Lights begins Saturday at sundown, with a motorcade of cars featuring menorahs on top to celebrate the holiday.

Chabad Lubavitch of East Hampton is bringing its own festival of lights to the Festival of Lights, when its Menorahcade will parade the streets of East Hampton on the first night of Hanukkah, kicking off the Jewish holiday this Saturday after it begins at sundown.

The motorcade, which features menorahs located on top of vehicles as they drive, is done across world each year in various locations (a parade in Commack reportedly hosted 80 cars last year, and another in Spring Valley, NY drew a reported 70 cars) but is new to the area, and will be escorted by local police, said Rabbi Leib Baumgarten.

It starts at Chabad Lubavitch at 13 Woods Ln., at 6:30 p.m., and will end with a menorah lighting at Herrick Park at 7 p.m.

Baumgarten said he is looking forward to the celebration, which in many countries, would likely not be permitted in such a public fashion. This year's celebration follows an effort put together by the interfaith group East Hampton Town Clericus.

"I'm thankful we're allowed to express what we believe in no matter what religion you belong to. We will be able to celebrate and bring a real festival of lights," Baumgarten said.

The menorah lighting will be followed by a Hanukkah party, featuring hot latkes, dreidels, hot drinks and more.

Hanukkah is a celebration commemorating the Maccabean Revolt, a battle between the Jewish defeat over the Seleucids, who ruled Israel more than 2,000 years ago.

The victors found a one-day supply of olive oil that had not been contaminated by the Seleucids and used it to light the temple menorah. The miracle of Hanukkah is that the oil, which was supposed to last for only one day, burned strong for eight days, hence the length of time Hanukkah is celebrated today.

The Festival of Lights is observed in modern times by lighting a candle on the menorah on each of the eight nights. Other customs include eating traditional foods made from oil including potato latkes and deep fried donuts known as sufganiyot, and playing with a spinning top called a dreidel, which is inscribed with the Hebrew acronym for "A great miracle happened there."

Jared Morgan contributed to this report.

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