A 25FT tall Hanukkah menorah was lit by Bournemouth Chabad to mark the first eve of the eight-day Festival of Lights.

The event near Bournemouth Pier featured live music, a guest cantor, and traditional Hannukah foods. The lighting - kindling - of the menorah was done using a cherry picker, indicating the start of the festival.

The large-scale, public Hanukkah celebration returns to Bournemouth after a nearly two-year hiatus, and record numbers of participants attended.

“Everyone is especially excited about Hanukkah this year,” said Rabbi Bentzion Alperowitz of Chabad Bournemouth.

“People have been waiting to celebrate with family and friends, to fill their homes with the light of Hanukkah, and there’s a palpable joy.

“The public Hanukkah celebration is about sharing this light and joy with the broader community in Bournemouth.”

The giant Menorah will be on display for the next week throughout the festival.

Doughnuts and fried potato latkes were served for all to enjoy, and complimentary Hanukkah menorahs and candles were distributed as well for participants to light at home.

The menorah faces the street, so that bypassers immediately feel “the effect of the light, which illuminates the outside and the environment.”

Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, began on Sunday and concludes the evening of Monday, December 6.

It recalls the victory of a militarily weak Jewish people who defeated the Syrian-Greeks who had overrun ancient Israel and sought to impose restrictions on the Jewish way of life and prohibit religious freedom.

Today, people of all faiths consider the holiday a symbol and message of the triumph of freedom over oppression, of spirit over matter, of light over darkness.