Festival of Lights celebration

Christmas is right around the corner as families continue to put up trees, lights, wrap presents and host Dirty Santa parties. Everyone always cherishes the classic holiday traditions during the month of December, but some families express unique traditions that bond family ties just as well.

Van Rogers, Brookhaven resident, and his family celebrate Hanukkah to bring his family closer together.

“It’s really interesting,” Elizabeth Green, Rogers’ stepdaughter, said.

Green, her twin sister, mother, stepfather and several neighbors practice the Jewish feasts year round. The family observes, not only Hanukkah, but also Passover and the traditional Saturday Sabbath days.

To explain their religion, Rogers said they are Christians, but they still follow God’s words and commandments from the Old Testament in the Bible.

“It is all God’s word,” he explained.

The Rogers also attend a synagogue with around 70 other regular members in Flowood.

Rogers explained regulars come as far away as Oxford to worship and that his family has practiced as Torah Observers for close to five years now.

Hanukkah, or Chanukah, is the Festival of Lights that lasts eight days and begins on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev. This year, it began on Dec. 16 and will last until Christmas Eve.

Each night, the Rogers, along with close friends and family, light one candle on their menorah, the traditional Jewish candelabra. The family also enjoys traditional Jewish recipes such as latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (doughnuts).

“They are really delicious,” Green said.

Green added her family does make their own Latkes to eat, but says they just purchase the doughnuts.