The number of candles lit on the first night of Hanukkah changes from year to year according to the Hebrew calendar, but typically it is either one or two. Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday celebrated for eight days and each night a candle is lit on a special menorah, or nine-branched candelabrum. The lighting of these candles symbolize the miracle of the Maccabees reclaiming the First Temple in Jerusalem from the Syrian-Greek Seleucid Empire and is a time for celebration and remembering God’s loving-kindness.
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How Many Candles Light On First Night Of Hanukkah?
The exact number of candles lit on the first night of Hanukkah depends on when the holiday falls in the Hebrew calendar. Typically the first night is either one or two candles, and the amount will increase by one each night, ending on the eighth night when all eight candles are lit.
The First Candle
The first candle lit on the first night of Hanukkah is the shamash, or “servitor” or “attendant” candle, which is placed in its own special socket and is used to light all the other candles. Its light is used to signify that the Hanukkah miracle is especially holy.
The Chanukah Candles
The Chanukah candles represent the miracle of light that happened when the oil that lit the Menorah in the First Temple mysteriously lasted for eight days.
Lighting the Candles
The Chanukah candles must burn the entirety of that night and to fulfill this obligation it is traditional to light them immediately after nightfall and recite a special blessing.
More Candle Lighting Information
The Chanukah candles are lit in a particular order, starting with the first one made and lighting from left to right. When any of the eight candles lit in the candleholder will be extinguished it is not rekindled, as that would make it a new light. The Chanukah candles are not used for any practical purpose or for any other use while the holiday is going on, so using them for any sort of lighting is forbidden.
The first night of Hanukkah marks the beginning of the festival, celebrated for eight days each year. Generally, either one or two candles are lit on the first night, followed by one more candle for each subsequent night. Hanukkah lighting signifies the miracle of the Maccabees reclaiming the First Temple and is a time to remember God’s loving-kindness and celebrate with family.
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Last update 2023-11-27. Price and product availability may change.