Hanukkah is a Jewish festival that is celebrated for eight days and nights to commemorate religious freedom. One key part of Hanukkah is the lighting of a special nine-branched Hanukkah menorah, or “hanukkiah,” each night of Hanukkah. One candle, the shamash (“helper”), is lit each day and used to light the other eight candles in the menorah. With the Hanukkiah, the question each night is, how many Hanukkah candles for today?
The simple answer is, one with a shamash! Every night of Hanukkah, the shamash is lit first and is then used to light one additional candle each evening. For the first night of Hanukkah, one candle is lit, and for the second night of Hanukkah, two candles are lit, and so on and so forth.
Kinds of Candles Used
The special Hanukkah menorah used for lighting the candles is sometimes referred to as a Hanukkiyah. The type of candle used is an important and symbolic part of the celebration. Special wax candles or wicks soaked in olive oil are typically used in the Hanukkiyah. If wax candles are used, the candle should preferably be a single candle, made up of nine wicks in one. This is to ensure the blessing for each candle coincides with the number of nights that will be lit.
Ceremony of Lighting Hanukkah Candles
Following the lighting of the shamash, a blessing is declared and the Hanukkah candles are lit from left to right with the newest candle being lit to the right. After the candles are lit, a special hymn, “Maoz Tzur,” is sung. Then the holiday celebration can begin!
In conclusion, to answer the question, “How many Hanukkah candles for today?” the answer is one with the shamash. Different kinds of candles are used and the ceremony of lighting the candles is an important part of the Hanukkah celebration. Each evening, one additional Hanukkah candle is lit and this is repeated for the full eight nights of Hanukkah.
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Last update 2023-11-27. Price and product availability may change.