Rabbi Chaim Wilansky lights a 9-foot Hanukkah menorah at Peirce Park in Bangor on Tuesday, the third night of the eight-day Festival of Lights. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

Mainers gathered at Peirce Park in downtown Bangor on Tuesday to light a 9-foot menorah to celebrate the 8-day Festival of Lights.

Tuesday marked the third night of Hanukkah, which started on Sunday evening. 

“Everyone is especially excited about Hanukkah this year,” Rabbi Chaim Wilansky of Congregation Beth Abraham said in a press release.  “People are preparing to celebrate with family and friends, to fill their homes with the light of Chanukah, and there’s a palpable joy. The public Chanukah celebration is about sharing this light and joy with the broader community and the entire Northern Maine.”

People gather around Peirce Park in Bangor Tuesday evening for the lighting of the menorah on the third night of Hanukkah. Credit: Linda Coan O’Kresik / BDN

The public event was part of a Hanukkah awareness campaign started in 1973 by the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, an influential Jewish leader in the 20th century. The campaign returns Hanukkah from what some many mistake as a minor holiday back to its roots as a “mainstay of Jewish cultural and religious life,” Wilansky said.

Another public menorah lighting will be held Thursday at 5 p.m. outside of Fogler Library and the University of Maine.