Thursday 6 December / 22 Kislev
Some have the custom of preparing the Chanukah candalabrum three days before the festival.
Since Chanukah this year begins on Saturday night, one should prepare the Chanukah lamp on Friday afternoon 7 December before the beginning of Shabbat, even though it will be lit only after the conclusion of the Shabbat on Saturday night 8 December. This is because the lamp may not be prepared on the Shabbat itself since this is a forbidden labor, yet the lights should be kindled as soon as possible after the conclusion of the Shabbat.
Friday night-Saturday 7-8 December / 24 Kislev
Shabbat VAYEISHEV SHABBAT MEVARCHIN & EVE OF CHANUKAH
Blessing the coming month of Tevet: Following the Torah reading we bless the coming month of Tevet. Rosh Chodesh will be on Thursday night-Friday 13-14 December. The Molad will be on Wednesday December 13, 2012 at 4:09 and 11 chalakim p.m.
Saturday night 8 December-Sunday night December 16 25 Kislev-3 Tevet CHANUKAH: FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS
Chanukah is a festival of thanksgiving for G-d’s miracles. The special prayer of thanksgiving for the Chanukah miracles (‘Al Hanissim) is added daily to each Amidah prayer and Birchat HaMazon (Grace after Meals). On each of the days of Chanukah, after the morning (shacharit) Amidah prayer, full Hallel (Psalms 113-118) is recited. Special Chanukah Torah readings: On each of the days of Chanukah there is a special Torah reading selected from the account of the sacrifices offered by the Princes of the Twelve Tribes in celebration of the inauguration of the wilderness Sanctuary (Numbers 7:1-8:4).
The days of Chanukah are days of joy. It is forbidden to fast and it is customary to hold feasts and to eat some fried foods (such as doughnuts — no need for excess!!!) in memory of the miracle of the oil, and a milk or cheese dish in memory of the heroism of Judith, who fed the Greek general Holfurnos until he was drowsy and then cut off his head.
For detailed laws and customs of the festival, click HERE or HERE.
Saturday night 8 December / 25 Kislev KINDLING THE FIRST LIGHT OF CHANUKAH
On Saturday night the Chanukah lights may be kindled only following the departure of the Shabbat after nightfall (marked by the appearance of three medium-size stars). Some have the custom of lighting the Chanukah candles before reciting Havdalah, but the prevailing custom is to light the Chanukah candles in the home after Havdalah.
Saturday night-Sunday 8-9 December / 25 Kislev FIRST DAY OF CHANUKAH
The first day of Chanukah is the anniversary of the completion of the Sanctuary in the Wilderness (though it was not inaugurated until the following Nissan) — and when Moses saw that the work was complete, he blessed the people “that the Shechinah should rest on the work of your hands… ‘And let the pleasantness of HaShem our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands for us…’ (Psalms 90:17).
In the time of the Second Temple on this day the Altar was reconsecrated by the Hasmonean priests, who miraculously found one intact flask of undefiled oil for kindling the Temple Menorah (candelabrum). Although according to the laws of nature the quantity of oil was sufficient for only one day, the oil miraculously sufficed for eight days until new ritually-pure oil could be produced.