Hanukkah is one of the most important Jewish festivals, and its primary ritual is lighting the hanukkiah (nine-branched candelabra) each evening. Traditionally, the hanukkiah should be lit to coincide with sundown. Yet there are other customs to observe and rituals to follow in order to figure out when exactly to light the Hanukkah candles. Here we will dissect all aspects of when to light the Hanukkah candles, and go over all the basics that go along with it.
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When to Start Lighting the Hanukkah Candles?
According to traditional Jewish law, the Hanukkah lights must be lit at sundown on the 25th day of Kislev, the month of Hanukkah. However, the exact time that sundown arrives can vary greatly depending on location and time of year. To determine when exactly to light the candle, Jewish people refer to a candle-lighting chart supplied by their Rabbi or community. This handy chart provides the exact times for sundown in one’s area, accounting for the time of the year and location.
How Many Candles Should be Lit?
The number of candles lit during Hanukkah is determined by the day. On the very first day, one candle is lit on the hanukkiah and one blessing is said. Each night, an additional candle is lit and an additional blessing is said, ending with the full eight candles on the eighth night, each accompanied by the traditional blessings.
Laughter & Joy
It is customary to radiate mirth and good cheer during Hanukkah. Therefore, it should be celebrated with humor and entertainment, to mark the victory over the Greeks and those who sought to oppress our people.
Music & Games
Just as the Maccabees played music in the ancient Temple, so too should we celebrate music and dancing. Playing traditional Jewish games at home, such as the dreidel, is also a popular way to commemorate the miracles of Hanukkah.
When lighting the candles, it is important to remember that the procedure should be done with blessing and reverence. The hanukkiah should be lit before sundown and the whole family should be present and participate in the ritual. The addition of the traditional prayers, laughter, games and music will add to the overall holiday experience and make it a night to remember.
Hanukkah is a holiday to remind us of the courage of our forefathers and to allow us to take part in preserving the ancient traditions of our people. Lighting the Hanukkah candles is a special part of that ritual, and should therefore be done with respect and joy.
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Last update 2023-11-27. Price and product availability may change.