Hours before the rest of the Jewish world lit its menorahs for the first night of Chanukah, thousands of people in the Australian state of Victoria celebrated the holiday during a party at a local park sponsored by the Chabad-Lubavitch center in Caulfield.

The event featured a fireworks display, children’s concert, petting zoo and pony rides.

Afterwards, Members of Parliament Michael Danby and Helen Shardey joined Rabbi Yosef Gutnick in lighting a giant menorah.

Event organizer Rabbi Shlomo Gurewicz estimated that some 15,000 people attended the party.

Elsewhere in Australia, Chabad-Lubavitch of Melbourne hosted a menorah lighting at Victoria’s Parliament, which was attended by Premier John Bromy and opposition leader Ted Baillieu. …