Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is a Jewish festival celebrated for eight days and nights to commemorate the rededication of the ancient Temple in Jerusalem. During this celebration, it is customary to light candles each night to represent the miracle of the oil burning for eight days. So, how many candles should be lit for Hanukkah today?
The general rule for lighting Hanukkah candles is to light one candle on the first night, and then an additional candle each night thereafter, for a total of eight on the eighth and final night. A traditional Menorah holds nine separate branches, with the ninth candle, known as the shamash, devoted to lighting the other eight, and is typically placed at the center of the Menorah. Depending on the home or synagogue, some families will add a candle for holidays when multiple nights are celebrated, such as Rosh Hashanah or the High Holidays.
The blessing for lighting candles, known as ‘Baruki Nader Adam veKhal Echad’, can be said or even sung before lighting each night. The purpose of this blessing is to thank God for allowing us to perform this sacred ritual and to remember the miracle of the oil that burned for 8 days when re-dedicating the temple.
Some families choose to light one large Hanukiyah which holds more than 8 candles, while others may have tray Menorahs with individual candles. There is no wrong way to light the candles. No matter the type of menorah used, the same blessings are recited before every night of Hanukkah.
The Hanukkah candles should be lit at nightfall, as darkness has fallen and all activity has come to an end. The reason being is that the miracle of Hanukkah is about light being re-introduced into the world after a long period of darkness. It is also customary to have the door open near the menorah to symbolize the welcoming of guests and to allow others to witness the miracle of light.
In conclusion, in order for Hanukkah to be properly celebrated, the lighting of the candles should begin with one on the first night and an additional candle each day thereafter, for a total of eight on the eighth night. Every night, the traditional blessing should be said or sung before lighting the candles. After darkness has fallen and all activity has come to an end, the Hanukkah candles should be lit for all to witness the miracle of light.
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Last update 2023-11-21. Price and product availability may change.