Hanukkah is an eight day Jewish festival of lights celebrated each year in the winter. During Hanukkah, Jews commemorate the Maccabees’ victory over the Seleucid forces who had sought to oppress their religious freedoms. Today, Hanukkah is celebrated by lighting a menorah, or candelabrum, for eight days with different prayers each night. One of the most important aspects of the Hanukkah ritual is the lighting of the menorah candles.
Why Light The Candles Every Night?
The lighting of the menorah each night symbolizes the miracle that happened long ago. According to the Talmud, when the Maccabees reclaimed the temple, they reclaimed a single flask of oil which was thought to contain only enough oil to keep the eternal flame burning for one night. Miraculously, the oil lasted eight days; to this day, Jews commemorate this miracle of divine intervention with the lighting of the menorah.
Jews generally place the menorah in their windows and walk around it three times each night to commemorate the victory of Judah Maccabee and his brothers. Additionally, the first night of Hanukkah blessings are recited, followed by further blessings before the lighting of the second through seventh candles; on the eighth and final night of Hanukkah, the shehecheyanu, a very special blessing, is recited.
Hanukkah 2020 begins on Thursday, December 10th and ends on Friday, December 18th. With the menorah needing to be lit each night, this means that the first candle should be lit Thursday night, December 10th immediately after sunset. The final candle should be lit on Friday, December 18th also as soon as possible after the sunset in the evening.
Hanukkah is an important Jewish festival celebrated each year remembering the Maccabees’ victory over those who sought to take away their religious freedoms. The highlight of the ritual is the lighting of a menorah each night from right to left, beginning with the Shamash candle. The menorah should be lit as soon as it is dark when the stars can be seen in the sky, usually after sunset. This year, the first candle should be lit on December 10th and the last one on December 18th.
In addition to lighting the menorah each night, Jews place the menorah in their windows and walk around it three times each night, as well as recite prayers each night of the festival. The menorah lighting ritual is an important way to commemorate the miracles of Hanukkah and their message of religious freedom and resilience.
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Last update 2023-11-27. Price and product availability may change.