NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Among the holidays celebrated at this time of year is a Festival of Lights, known as Chanukah.

This year, the 8-day celebration started on December 22. Families gathered at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan to celebrate the holiday with song, fun and, of course, food.

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Jelly donuts is a staple of Chanukah. Potato latkes are also a tradition, both fried in oil.

Oil is a vital part of the miracle of Chanukah.

“We light the candles for 8 days and one candle each night,” said Abigail Kornbruth, a child who attended the celebration.

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The menorah is lit as a celebration of light, chasing away the forces of evil and darkness.

The tradition stems from the Jews’ struggle for religious freedom more than 2,500 years ago. Their temple was re-dedicated by the Maccabees following their victory over the Syrians, and oil to light the menorah miraculously lasted for 8 days, instead of just the one.

The literal translation of Chanukah means to dedicate and that’s what what families at the 92nd Street Y are doing — making sure their children know the meaning of Chanukah and the traditions, and never losing sight of the most important part of the holiday.

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“It’s a time when all people are celebrating this new year and new season together and spreading a lot of love and light in the world,” said Rebecca Schoffer, a musician and mom.