Chanukah, the Jewish festival of light, was celebrated on Thursday in a live outdoor ceremony at Schuman Square in Brussels.
The eight-day long holiday commemorates a successful rebellion against an empire who suppressed freedom of religion in the second century BC and the rededication of the temple in Jerusalem. Each evening a light is added.
Today Chanukah is one of the most joyous holidays in Jewish culture, celebrated by religious and secular people alike, commemorating the triumph of light over darkness and expressing hope for a better future.
In what has become a tradition in European Commission, on Thursday evening (2 December), Commission President Ursula von der Leyen lit the fifth candle at Schuman Square in Brussels. The candle of Chanukah will cast its light on the European quarter tonight, she said. “It is wonderful, this idea.”
“I believe all of us – modern-day Europeans – have something to learn from this Jewish festivity. Chanukah is a story of resilience and perseverance. It is the story of how the Jewish people rekindled the light inside the Temple, against all odds and in circumstances that seemed desperate. Chanukah bears a message of hope for all of us in these times of pandemic and recovery.”
“We are lucky enough to live in a city that cherishes its diversity, she continued. “At this time of the year, we can see a few Chanukias (chanukah menorah or candlestick) in windows across the city. This should be normal, and no Jewish family should be afraid to show its identity.”
“Do it, we are proud of it, we want to see it! I want a Union that cherishes its diversity, where the lights of Chanukah illuminate our cities and our hearts.”
The Brussels Times