The lighting of candles forms a large part of the Hanukkah celebration. It is traditional to light one candle each night over the eight nights of the holiday. But what candles should you light? What is the meaning behind each candle? Read on to find out more.
According to traditional Jewish teachings, eight candles are lit over the eight days of Hanukkah. On the first night, one candle is lit – representing the great miracle that occurred thousands of years ago. Every additional night, an extra candle is lit until the eight at the end of the holiday. Each night a blessing is chanted as the candle is lit, a prayer thanking G-d for various miracles that occurred in Jewish history. It is usual to arrange the candles in a special candelabrum known as a hanukkiyah.
The hanukkiyah has space for nine candles – one more than is traditionally lit. The ninth candle, or shamash, is used to light the other eight candles. The shamash is usually in a higher position than the other candles, to symbolize its role as a servant. It is also the only candle used throughout the holiday to light the other eight. This signifies the importance of uniting together to perform acts of kindness and goodness.
Each night it is important to start on the right - the same side as the shamash – before progressing around the hanukkiyah to light the rest of the candles. For this reason, it is important to make sure that the shamash is placed above the first candle in the row. The candle should be lit first so that it can then be used to light the other candles. On the last night, all eight candles should be lit directly, without using the shamash.
Hanukkah is a time to celebrate miracles and to show that even in the darkest of times, there is light. Lighting the candles each night is a reminder of the miracle of the little jar of oil lasting for eight days. It is a time to come together to remember what is important in life and to enjoy each other’s company. So, gather around the hanukkiyah for this auspicious tradition and enjoy the light of the Hanukkah candles!
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Last update 2023-11-27. Price and product availability may change.