What Time to Light Hanukkah Candles: A Guide

Are you wondering what time to light Hanukkah candles? As the Festival of Lights, also known as Chanukah, approaches, Jewish households around the world prepare for the eight-day celebration. Hanukkah commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem during the Maccabean Revolt in the 2nd century BCE. One of its central mitzvahs is lighting a hanukkiah, also known as a Hanukkah menorah. In addition, if Shabbat falls during Chanukah, Chabad has specific guidelines for lighting the candles.

The hanukkiah has nine branches: one for each night of Hanukkah and an additional branch, called the shamash or “helper,” used to light the other candles. Every night at sundown, families gather together to recite blessings and light another candle on their chanukah menorah until all eight are lit. On Shabbat, the lights are kindled before sunset. Shehechiyanu is a prayer recited during special occasions such as Hanukkah. Chabad is a Hasidic movement known for its outreach efforts and educational programs.

Lighting the Hanukkah menorah with lights serves as a reminder of hope, miracles and freedom. It’s no wonder why it remains an important tradition among Jewish communities worldwide, including during Shabbat. So if you’re curious about when to light your Hanukkah candles this year, read on and consider consulting with your local Chabad.

The Significance of Lighting Hanukkah Candles and the Blessings

Explanation of the blessings recited while lighting candles

Hanukkah is a Jewish festival that commemorates the victory of the Maccabees over the Greeks. During this eight-day festival, Jews light chanukah lights on a menorah to symbolize the mitzvah of one day’s worth of oil lasting for eight days in the Holy Temple. Each night, an additional candle is lit until all eight are burning on the final night. Chabad encourages people to light the menorah and recite the shehechiyanu blessing during this joyous occasion.

While lighting each Chanukah candle, there are two blessings recited: “Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech ha’olam asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu l’hadlik ner shel Hanukkah” (Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to kindle the Chanukah candles) and “Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech ha’olam she’asah nisim la’avoteinu bayamim hahem bazman hazeh” (Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe who performed miracles for our ancestors in those days at this time). On Shabbat, we also light Shabbat candles. Chabad is

The first blessing acknowledges God’s commandment to light Hanukkah candles, also known as chanukah lights, while the second recognizes God’s miracles during ancient times. These blessings remind us to appreciate both religious obligations and historical events that led to this celebration. In December, Chabad houses around the world distribute free fuel for lighting the chanukah lights, ensuring that everyone can fulfill this important mitzvah.

Importance of publicizing the miracle through candle lighting

One important aspect of Hanukkah is publicizing or sharing its story with others. This is why many families place their menorahs or chanukah lights in windowsills or doorways where passersby can see them. It is also customary to light chanukah candles every night of the holiday, similar to lighting shabbat candles. Some Jewish communities, such as Chabad, hold public menorah lighting events to spread the message of Hanukkah to a wider audience.

The Talmud teaches that it is a mitzvah (commandment) to practice lighting the Hanukkah menorah with Chanukah lights at around 6 pm. It is important to publicize this miracle by lighting the candles in a place where others can see them. By doing so, we are spreading the message of hope and faith to others.

Symbolism behind each candle and its meaning

Each night of Hanukkah, an additional candle is lit on the menorah. The ninth candle, called the shamash (helper), is used to light the other chanukah lights. At around 6 pm, don’t forget to light the candles and share a photo in reply.

The first night, only two candles – the shamash and one Hanukkah candle – are lit. On subsequent nights, another Hanukkah candle is added until all eight Chanukah lights are burning on the final night. Please reply if you have any questions.

Each candle has its own symbolism and meaning:

  • Night 1: The first candle represents victory over oppression.
  • Night 2: The second candle represents courage.
  • Night 3: The third candle of the chanukah lights represents freedom to worship God. Don’t forget to light chanukah candles and reply with a “Happy Chanukah!”
  • Night 4: The fourth candle represents perseverance.
  • Night 5: The fifth candle represents gratitude.
  • Night 6: The sixth candle represents dedication to learning Torah by the light of the Chanukah candles, also known as Chanukah lights.
  • Night 7: The seventh candle represents spiritual growth.
  • Night 8: The eighth and final candle represents unity.

Proper Time to Light the Candles, Including Earliest and Latest Times

Hanukkah is a Jewish festival that lasts for eight days. During this festival, Jews light candles on a menorah every night, which are also known as Chanukah lights. But what time should you light the Hanukkah candles? This article will explain the proper time to light the candles, including the earliest and latest times.

Explanation of when to light candles on each night

On the first night of Hanukkah, you should light one chanukah light after sunset. On each subsequent night, you add another chanukah light and light them in order from left to right. The last chanukah light is called the shamash, which is used to light all other chanukah lights.

Earliest time to light candles

The Chanukah lights can be lit as soon as it gets dark outside. However, there is a prescribed period during which they must be lit. This period begins 18 minutes before sunset and ends at sundown. If you live in an area where sunset occurs after 6 pm, it’s best to wait until closer to that time so that more people can see your menorah.

Latest time to light candles

It’s important not to wait too long before lighting your Chanukah candles because the lights must burn for at least half an hour after dark. If you miss this window of opportunity, you’ll need to relight them again later in the evening.

The latest time for lighting Hanukkah candles, also known as chanukah lights, is midnight. However, if you’re going out or have guests coming over later in the evening, it’s best not to wait until then. Instead, try lighting the beautiful chanukah lights around 7 pm or 8 pm so that everyone can enjoy their beauty before going about their business.

If you forget to light your Chanukah candles altogether on a particular day – don’t worry! You can still do it later on; just make sure that the lights burn for at least half an hour after dark.

Finding a Suitable Place to Light the Candles

Importance of finding a safe place for candle lighting

Hanukkah, also known as Chanukah, is a festival of lights, and lighting candles is an essential part of the celebration. However, it’s crucial to find a suitable and safe place for Chanukah candle lighting. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Keep candles and lights away from flammable materials: It’s vital to keep the candles and lights away from curtains, papers, or anything that can easily catch fire during Chanukah.
  • Use candle holders: Always use sturdy candle holders that can hold the weight of the candles and lights. Avoid using plastic or wooden holders as they may melt or catch fire.
  • Keep children and pets away from the lit candles: Make sure that children and pets are kept at a safe distance from the candles once they are lit. Children should not be allowed to light the candles without adult supervision, especially when it comes to lighting multiple lights.

Indoor vs outdoor lighting options

You have two options – indoor or outdoor. Here are some things to consider when deciding between these two options: If you choose indoor, you can add lights or an extra candle to create a cozy ambiance. If you prefer outdoor, make sure to light Chanukah candles in a safe and secure location.

Indoor Lighting

Indoor lighting is ideal if you live in an apartment or house with limited outdoor space. You can light your Hanukkah candles on a table near a window facing the street so that passersby can see the lights.

Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor lighting is perfect if you have ample space outside your home. You can light your Hanukkah candles in front of your house or on your porch.

Considerations for those living in shared spaces

If you live in shared spaces like dorms, apartments, or condos, here are some considerations to keep in mind when finding a suitable place for Chanukah candle lighting:

  • Check with your building management: Before lighting any candles, check with your building management about their policies regarding open flames.
  • Use LED lights instead: If open flames aren’t allowed inside your building, consider using LED lights instead of traditional Hanukkah candles.
  • Find a communal space: If you live in an apartment complex or dorm, find a communal space where you can light the candles with other residents.

Positioning Your Menorah for Optimal Lighting

Choosing an Appropriate Location for Your Menorah

The first step in positioning your menorah for optimal lighting is to choose an appropriate location. Ideally, you want to place your menorah in a spot where it can be easily seen by all members of the household. This could be on a windowsill facing the street or in a central area of your home.

It’s important to consider any hazards that may be present in the chosen location. For example, if you plan to light your menorah near curtains or other flammable objects, you’ll need to take extra precautions to ensure that there is no risk of fire.

Proper Height Placement for Optimal Viewing

Once you’ve chosen a location for your menorah, it’s time to consider the proper height placement. You want the menorah to be visible and accessible so that everyone can participate in lighting the candles.

A good rule of thumb is to position the menorah at eye level when seated. This will ensure that everyone can see and appreciate the beauty of the candles as they are lit each night.

Avoiding Hazards such as Curtains or Flammable Objects

As mentioned earlier, it’s crucial to avoid any potential hazards when positioning your menorah. Make sure that there are no curtains or other flammable objects nearby that could catch fire from the open flames.

You should also avoid placing your menorah near any drafts or air vents, as this can cause uneven burning and make it difficult to keep all of the candles lit throughout each night of Hanukkah.

The Best Hand Positions for Lighting Candles

When lighting Hanukkah candles, there is a specific order and hand position that should be followed. The Shamash candle (the ninth candle used to light all others) should always be held with your dominant hand.

To light each candle on the menorah, start with the candle on the far right and work your way towards the left. Use the Shamash candle to light each individual candle, starting with the newest one first.

Olive Oil vs. Wax Candles

Traditionally, Hanukkah candles were made from olive oil. However, many people now use wax candles instead due to their convenience and ease of use.

If you choose to use olive oil for your Hanukkah candles, make sure that you have enough on hand to last throughout all eight nights of the holiday. You’ll also need a special menorah designed specifically for olive oil candles.

Wax candles are a popular choice because they come in a variety of colors and sizes, making it easy to find ones that fit your personal style and preferences.

Placing the Candles for Each Night of the Holiday

Hanukkah is a special holiday that lasts for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev, which usually falls in December. One of the most important traditions during Hanukkah is lighting candles on a menorah. But what time should you light Hanukkah candles, and how do you place them properly each night? Here are some tips to help you get started.

Order in which candles are lit each night

During Hanukkah, there are eight nights to light candles. On the first night, you light one candle; on the second night, two candles; and so on until all eight candles are lit on the eighth and final night. The order in which you light the candles is from right to left (when facing the menorah) because Hebrew is read from right to left.

Placement of shamash (helper) candle

The shamash candle is an extra candle that sits higher or lower than the other eight candles on a menorah. It’s used to light all of the other candles because it’s forbidden to use one Hanukkah candle to light another. The shamash candle should be placed at a different height than the other eight candles so that it stands out as different.

Ensuring proper spacing between each candle

When placing your Hanukkah candles, it’s important to ensure that they’re spaced evenly apart so that they don’t melt into each other or cause a fire hazard. The space between each candle should be at least one inch apart from its neighbor.

To make sure your menorah looks beautiful and symmetrical, here are some additional tips:

  • Use a ruler or measuring tape to ensure even spacing.
  • Place taller candles towards either end with shorter ones in between.
  • Make sure your shamash candle isn’t too close or too far away from the other candles.

Ensuring the Menorah Remains Lit for the Entire Time Needed

Preparing Enough Oil or Wax Ahead of Time

One of the most important things to consider when lighting a menorah is making sure you have enough oil or wax to keep it burning for the required time period. The amount of oil or wax needed will vary depending on how many candles your menorah holds and how long you want each candle to burn.

To ensure that you have enough fuel, it is recommended that you measure out the amount of oil or wax needed before starting to light the candles. This way, you can be sure that you have enough fuel to last throughout the entire lighting ceremony.

If using oil, it’s also important to choose an appropriate type of oil. Olive oil is a traditional choice and burns cleanly, but other oils such as canola or vegetable oil can also be used. Be sure to avoid oils with a low smoke point, as they may produce unpleasant odors when burned.

Checking on Your Menorah Periodically

Once your menorah is lit, it’s important to periodically check on it to make sure that all of the candles are still burning. If one candle goes out, it can quickly extinguish neighboring candles as well.

Check on your menorah every 30 minutes or so during the lighting ceremony. If any candles have gone out, relight them immediately. It’s also a good idea to keep a lighter or matches nearby in case any candles need relighting.

Tips on How to Keep Your Menorah Lit Throughout the Required Time Period

In addition to preparing enough fuel and checking on your menorah periodically, there are other tips and tricks you can use to ensure that your menorah remains lit for the entire time needed.

  • Use high-quality wicks: A high-quality wick will burn more evenly and help prevent individual candles from going out prematurely.
  • Place your menorah in a draft-free area: Drafts can cause candles to flicker and go out, so it’s important to place your menorah in an area where there is no breeze or air flow.
  • Trim the wicks: If you’re using candles with wicks, be sure to trim them down to ¼ inch before lighting. This will help prevent the wick from producing too much smoke or causing the candle flame to become too large.

By following these tips and tricks, you can ensure that your menorah remains lit for the entire time needed. With a little preparation and attention to detail, you can enjoy a beautiful and meaningful Hanukkah celebration with family and friends.

Conclusion: Coming Home Late from Work and Other Scenarios

Now that you know the proper time to light Hanukkah candles, as well as how to find a suitable place for your menorah and position it for optimal lighting, you can ensure that you are fulfilling this important holiday tradition with confidence. Remember to recite the blessings and place the candles in the correct order each night of the holiday. And don’t forget to keep an eye on your menorah to make sure it remains lit for the entire time needed.

Whether you’re coming home late from work or facing other scenarios that may affect your candle lighting schedule, planning ahead and understanding the earliest and latest times for lighting can help you stay on track. By following these guidelines, you can fully embrace the significance of Hanukkah and create lasting memories with loved ones.


Q: Can I use electric candles instead of traditional ones?

A: While electric candles may be convenient, they do not fulfill the mitzvah (commandment) of lighting Hanukkah candles in the traditional sense. It is recommended to use traditional wax candles whenever possible.

Q: What should I do if I miss a night of candle lighting?

A: If you miss a night of candle lighting, simply light one additional candle on each subsequent night until all eight nights have been fulfilled.

Q: Do I need to light separate menorahs for each member of my household?

A: No, only one menorah is needed per household. However, each member may choose to light their own set of candles within the same menorah.

Q: Can I travel with my menorah during Hanukkah?

A: Yes, you can travel with your menorah during Hanukkah. Just be sure to pack it securely so that it does not get damaged during transport.

Q: Is there a specific direction in which I should light the candles?

A: The candles should be lit from left to right, with the newest candle being lit first.