Holiday celebrations kicking off across Southland

Southern California residents light a menorah in Beverly Hills for the first night of Hanukkah Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 2016.

Holiday celebrations have kicked off across the Southland Christmas Day.

Free holiday meals will be provided at events in several locations, including Skid Row, Pasadena and Hollywood.

At Los Angeles International Airport, police are giving out gifts to children stuck inside for the holiday -- and even Santa made an appearance.


Meantime, at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown L.A., L.A. Diocese Archbishop Jose Gomez will lead English and Spanish Christmas Day masses.

Christmas Eve was the first night of Hanukkah. A ceremony to light a 13-foot menorah was held in Beverly Hills in the 400 block of N. Canon Drive.

The eight-day holiday commemorates the rededication of the temple in 165 BC, when a small vial of oil miraculously lasted long enough to keep the menorah lit for eight nights.

"Not too often that you have both the holiday of Hanukkah and the holiday of Christmas starting out on the same eve," said Rabbi Yosef Cunin. "And it's a nice reminder for people of faith of all around the world how there's enough place in the world for members of all faiths to be able to practice, to make space for other faiths and other religions, and that's what's beautiful about this country, that it allows for that."

Hanukkah ends Sunday, Jan. 1.
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societyhanukkahchristmasholidaySouthern CaliforniaBeverly HillsLos Angeles County
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