Candles were lit on Wednesday evening by the Jewish community of Cyprus to celebrate the eight-day Jewish ‘festival of lights’, Chanukah.
“Chanukah festivities celebrate the triumph of light over darkness and spirituality over materialism,” the Commissioner for Humanitarian Issues Fotis Fotiou said in his address to the crowd on Larnaca’s Phinikoudes celebrating of the Jewish community’s annual public Menorah Kindling ceremony.
Representatives from the government, ambassadors, members of the EU and Israeli parliament attended the event that featured traditional Chanukah food and entertainment, as well as the lighting of the island’s largest Menorah, a nine-branched candelabrum which is lit every night of the ritual.
“The universal message of Chanukah is that faith and persistence are powerful forces that can support us through all challenges,” Fotiou said, adding that “the smallest of lights can illuminate the darkest of corners, such as the greatest tragedy which is the Holocaust.”
Fotiou expressed his gratitude to the Jewish community whose presence on the island dates back hundred of years, and which today constitutes an integral part of Cyprus life.
“Our shared history, old and modern, contains much to demonstrate the deep relationship of friendship and cooperation between our peoples and countries,” Fotiou added, noting that this extends into the present, when “bilateral relations between Cyprus and Israel are at their highest point.”
The festival this year began on December 2 and ends on the evening of December 10.