Hanukkah, which starts Tuesday night, celebrates the miracle of the lamp that burned for eight days with only enough oil for one day.
Known as the Jewish Festival of Lights, the holiday honors "family, friendship and tradition," says Rick Lewis, chief executive at Mid-Island Y Jewish Community Center. Here are ways to celebrate each day of the holiday -- plus a bonus.
DEC. 16 (NIGHT 1)
Now in its eighth year, the Chabad Community Center for Jewish Life's Great Menorah Car Parade and Menorah Lighting winds through Bellmore and Merrick before looping back to the Merrick train station for the lighting of a 12-foot menorah. When you join the caravan, you'll receive a road map and free treats. Expect to see menorahs on car roofs and hear Hanukkah music blasting from speakers on the lead car.
Latkes, jelly doughnuts and other treats at the lighting. (6 p.m., 2174 Hewlett Ave., Merrick; chabadjewishlife.org, 516-833-3057)
DEC. 17 (NIGHT 2)
Enjoy some comedy on the second night of Hanukkah. See "Laughter, Latkes and Lights" with comedian Marc Weiner, playing at Setauket Neighborhood House. Weiner, who has been on Comedy Central and has his own production company with projects on Nickelodeon, appears courtesy of Chabad of Stony Brook, which will provide a latke bar with toppings, hot soups and traditional jelly doughnuts. Adults only. (7 p.m., 95 Main St., East Setauket; 631-585-0521, ext. 101; chabadsb.com/lll; $36, or $65 a couple, in advance; $45 at the door)
DEC. 18 (NIGHT 3)
Holiday time is family time at the Mid-Island Y JCC in Plainview. Join the community menorah lighting at 7:30 p.m. at the corner of Manetto Hill and Washington avenues in Plainview, where there will be hot chocolate. Then, come inside the center for dreidel spinning and the announcement of winners of the menorah contest. (516-822-3535, miyjcc.org)
DEC. 19 (NIGHT 4)
Tap your feet to the sounds of Shul of Rock, a local youth band at the Reconstructionist Congregation Beth Emeth/Central Synagogue of Nassau County, and bring candles and a menorah to light all together as a community. (7:30 p.m., 430 DeMott Ave., Rockville Centre, free; 516-766-6426; 430demott.org)
DEC. 20 (NIGHT 5)
On the Sabbath, the celebration traditionally moves into the home. But you may want to start thinking about ways to direct the holiday's spirit of giving to help others. One way would be to register for Sunday's "Cycle for Good" spin class fundraiser at the Barry and Florence Friedberg JCC (9 a.m.-noon, 15 Neil Court, Oceanside; 516-766-4341). It benefits Etgarim, an Israeli organization serving children and adults with disabilities. Rent a bike for $25 an hour or $100 for unlimited riding. For ages 13 and older, says Jorell Celano, fitness program coordinator.
DEC. 21 (NIGHT 6)
There still might be tickets available for Matisyahu's "Festival of Lights" tour at The Paramount in Huntington. Musician Matthew Miller, known by his Hebrew name Matisyahu, performs his reggae- and techno-inspired songs as well as his own Hanukkah songs with a giant Disco Dreidel and menorah onstage. (8 p.m., $25-$55; 631-673-7300, paramountny.com)
DEC. 22 (NIGHT 7)
Not a bad time to pick up some sufganiyot, those traditional jelly doughnuts. Try Zucker Bakers (2845 Jerusalem Ave., Wantagh; 516-785-6900). All are kosher pareve, as well as peanut- and tree-nut-free. Minis go for $1; large, $1.50.
DEC. 23 (NIGHT 8)
What could be more fun for the family than visiting the grand "Chanukah Experience," complete with face-painting, clay-molding, candlemaking and other crafts? Visitors can bring a letter or small gift to be delivered to Israeli soldiers. (Begins at 10 a.m. and continues in 1½-hour intervals, $10 a person; 525 Central Ave., Cedarhurst; chabadfivetowns.com)
Need something to do Christmas Day? How about heading to the Sid Jacobson JCC in East Hills for some dreidel-spinning, playtime in the gym and holiday treats? (9:30 a.m. to noon, 300 Forest Dr., $20 a family for nonmembers; 516-484-1545, sjjcc.org)
Mid-Island Y JCC also opens its doors from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for swimming, sports, and arts and crafts, $5 a person or $18 per family; 516-822-3535.