Happy Hanukkah! Happy Chanukah!
Sundown marks the beginning of Hanukkah, or Chanukah, depending on the way you translate the Hebrew. (Potato, potahto; tomato, tomahto.)
The holiday commemorates a miracle of Biblical proportions -- when the Maccabees overthrew the Syrians, restored the Temple in Jerusalem and saw a one-day supply of oil last for eight days. That's why the holiday features a candle-filled menorah and foods fried in oil -- mainly jelly donuts and potato pancakes.
The holiday doesn't carry the religious heft of Yom Kippur or Rosh Hashanah, but in America it has gained prominence because it generally falls around Christmas time, as this NPR story notes. Little by little, gift-giving has become a staple of the holiday, though eight nights of presents is a bit of overkill. In our house, nightly gifts tended to to be simple, such as candy or band-aids.
So have a donut and, as Adam Sandler said, enjoy Eight Crazy Nights.