BEVERLY — Local officials, religious leaders and others gathered at Beverly Common Monday evening to light the nine "candles" on a large menorah.

The symbolic act of lighting the candles signals the start of the Jewish holiday season of Hanukkah.

Other communities on the North Shore are also celebrating publicly this week. Danvers officials lit a menorah Monday as well on the grounds of the Danvers library, while in Peabody, the city will light a large menorah outside City Hall on Thursday evening. In Salem, there will be a Hanukkah party Saturday evening in Lappin Park.