Hanukkah is a special holiday celebrated by Jewish people for eight days and nights each winter to commemorate a miraculous event that happened over two thousand years ago. The holiday is celebrated with the lighting of a special oil lamp, called a menorah, with eight branches, one for each day. Many people ask during Hanukkah, how many candles are lit?
The short answer is that on each of the nights of Hanukkah, one candle is lit. It is customary to light a new candle each night, beginning with the evening of the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev and continuing on each of the subsequent nights of the holiday. It is important to note that all eight candles are usually lit during the first ceremony, although only a single candle is lit each night for the rest of the holiday.
During the first Hanukkah celebration, when the Maccabees recaptured the Holy Temple, only a small amount of oil could be found to light the eternal light. Miraculously, the oil kept the flames burning for eight days and nights, until more oil could be retrieved. This incredible miracle of the oil is celebrated each year during the eight days of Hanukkah.
Lighting the Menorah
The menorah is lit each night for a specific purpose. The practice is observed as a reminder of the holiday and has come to symbolize the miracle of the oil. During the ceremony, the shamash (or assistant candle) is lit first and then used to light the other candles. It is important to note that the shamash is not used to light any of the subsequent candles on the menorah, as it is only used to light the first.
Lighting the Hanukkiyah
The Hanukkiyah is the eight-branched candleholder that is lit each year as part of the festivities. The Hanukkiyah stands on its own, and has a higher and lower level, so that it may be set on a stable surface. It is lit from left to right, and from top to bottom. The shamash is usually placed to the right of the remaining branches and is lit first. The remaining candles are then lit one by one, beginning with the newest candle, on the first night of the holiday.
Tradition of Blessing
During the lighting of the candles, it is traditional for the family or group to recite a series of blessings. The blessings include She-Achalnu, which is the introductory blessing, and three blessings that are specifically said when lighting the menorah – She-Asa Nissim, She-Hecheyanu, and Al Ha-Nissim. After the blessings are recited, all those present usually sing a Hanukkah song around the menorah.
In conclusion, during Hanukkah, according to tradition, one candle is lit for each of the eight days of the holiday. The lighting of the menorah is a symbolic gesture that serves as a reminder of the miracle of the oil and is carried out in a specific manner, from left to right, according to established tradition. This is accompanied by reciting the appropriate blessings and singing of a Hanukkah song.
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Last update 2023-11-27. Price and product availability may change.