Lighting the Menorah is one of the most cherished traditions of celebrating Hanukkah. Menorahs, also known as Hanukkiah, can come in all shapes and sizes and have eight candles that are used to light the holiday and bless it. Lighting a Menorah dates back centuries to when Hanukkah first began. It is the most recognizable ritual to those celebrating Hanukkah, and it’s one of the most important. The way one lights the candles, however, can be unique to each and every individual. There are some general rules to follow when it comes to lighting the candles, such as the sequence in which they are lit, and the direction in which the lighting is done.
Lighting the Candles
Lighting a Menorah is typically done from right to left in a counterclockwise direction. This is because ancient Hebrews, who read from right to left, would always bless God first. Each night of Hanukkah, one additional candle is lit in the Menorah until all eight are lit. On the first night after the sundown service, the Shamash (or server) candle is lit first. This candle and the others in the Menorah have a purpose, and the symbolism behind them is inherent in many of the Hanukkah traditions.
The Meaning Behind the Candles
The first candle represents creation, the start of something new and untouched. The second candle stands for redemption, growth and freedom, while the third candle stands for character and integrity. The other five candles come with their own meaning, such as freedom from slavery, goodness, justice, courage, and glory and love. They all carry special symbolism for those celebrating and are meant to bring a heightened sense of joy during the eight-day festival of lights.
Lighting the Menorah is a sacred ritual that has gone on unbroken for centuries, meant to celebrate the miracles of Hanukkah and those who hold the holiday close to their hearts. With distinct meaning and special symbolism behind each candle, it’s meant to be a peaceful, reflective, and spiritual experience as one partakes in the joys of the Festival of Lights.
Lighting the Menorah on Hanukkah is done with respect and reverence in order to honor the history and the significance behind each candle. From lighting one candle on the first night to eight at the end, every night of Hanukkah holds a different weight and special meaning. It is a tradition that will cherish in hearts and homes around the world throughout this special holiday.
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Last update 2023-11-27. Price and product availability may change.