Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday that lasts for eight days and nights. Each night of the festival, a candle is lit on the menorah. But when should the first candle be lit?
The first candle of Hanukkah is lit on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev. This usually corresponds with a date in late November or December, depending on the year. According to ancient Biblical calculations, the beginning of any Hebrew month is established by the new moon. Thus, the day when a new month of Kislev begins is determined by the sighting of the new moon.
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When Should The First Candle Be Lit?
The Jewish calendar is based on a lunar cycle, and each month consists of either 29 or 30 days. Kislev therefore ranges from anywhere between 29 and 30 days.
On the evening of each day of Hanukkah, a single candle is lit to symbolize the miracle that occurred in 168 B.C.E. when a single container of oil, enough to last only one night, was said to have burned for eight days. On the evening of the first day of Hanukkah, two candles are lit, and starting in the second night, another candle is added each evening until all eight candles are burning.
At the beginning of each evening ceremony, the shamash candle is lit first. This candle is then used to light the other candles of the menorah, starting with the one on the far right and lighting them from left to right. When that is done, holiday blessings are chanted over a cup of wine, and then the holiday candles are lit.
Calculating Candle Lighting Times Today
To properly observe Hanukkah in modern times, it is important to understand when each day of the Jewish lunar calendar begins. lighting times for the menorah candles can be calculated by looking up the dates of the new moon. Once the dates of Kislev have been established, Hanukkah can begin on the 25th day, which is usually in the month of December.
One common misconception is that Hanukkah lasts only seven days, when in fact, it is an eight day holiday. Another mistake is that the first candle is lit on the first night of Hanukkah, when in fact, the first candle is lit on the 25th day of Kislev, which can fall on any night of the week.
In conclusion, the first candle of Hanukkah is lit on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev. It is important to understand the lunar cycles of the Jewish calendar and find out when the new moon is in order to figure out the exact start of Hanukkah. This is so that Hanukkah can be correctly observed and celebrated.
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Last update 2023-11-22. Price and product availability may change.