Jews around the world celebrate Chanukah by lighting Chanukah menorahs during the eight day Festival of Lights. Known as a “chanukiah”, the Chanukah menorah is different from a standard menorah. A regular menorah has seven candles-six on each side and one in the middle. A Chanukiah has nine candle holders, one for each night of Chanukah and the “shamash” or helper candle.

How to Light the Chanukah Menorah

Colorful Hanukkah CandlesCredit:

The Chanukah menorah should be lit at sundown when all of the family is home from work, school, and other activities. Unlike Shabbat, when the candles need to be lit at a certain time, the lighting of the chanukiah can wait until everyone is home, so everyone can enjoy the glow of the candlelight.

When lighting the Chanukah menorah during the Festival of Lights, you place the candle from right to left. Then you light the chanukiah from left to right, starting with the newest candle first.  You light the "shamash" (helper candle) first, and then use it to light the others.

There are three Chanukah prayers (or blessings) that need to be said when lighting the Chanukah menorah on the first night. The prayers are written in transliteration.

Prayer One

Baruch ata Adonai, Elohenu melech ha-olam asher kideshanu be-mitzvotav, ve-tzivanu le-hadlik ner shel Chanukah.

Blessed are you, Adonai our our G-d, Sovereign of all, who hallows us with mitzvot, commanding us to light the Chanukah candles.

Prayer Two

Baruch ata Adonai, Elohenu melech ha-olam she-asa nisim la-avotenu ba-yamim ha-hem ba-zeman ha-zeh.

Blessed are you, Adonai our G-d, Sovereign of all,
who performed wonderous deeds for our ancestors in days of old at this season.

Prayer Three

Baruch ata Adonai, Elohenu melech ha-olam
she-hecheyanu, ve-kiyemanu, ve-higiyanu la-zeman ha-zeh.

Blessed are you, Adonai our G-d, Sovereign of all, for giving us life, for sustaining us, and for enabling us to reach this season.

On the second through eighth nights of Hanukkah, only say the first and second prayers.

Where to Place the Chanukah Menorah During the Festival of Lights


Colorful Hanukkah CandlesCredit:


Electric menorah for HanukkahCredit:

It is tradition to place the Chanukah menorah near a window so that others can see it’s light from outside. Because this is not always possible, there are electric Chanukah menorahs. You can use the traditional orange bulbs that come in the package, or make a rainbow of colors. Christmas bulbs fit perfectly in the candle holders!


Simply plug it in and remember to light it backwards, or else it will reflect the wrong way to those looking at it from outside!

Other Chanukah Menorah Traditions for The Festival of Lights


Children's Chanukah menorahCredit:

Families have different traditions when lighting the Chanukiah. While some families only light one Chanukah menorah, others families have a Chanukiah for each member of the family. My children were given their own Chanukah menorahs as babies, and now they proudly light them and say the blessings during the Jewish holiday.


Because Chanukah candles come in so many different colors, some people like to put their candles in a pattern. In my home, I always have more boxes than I need, because my kids like to create patterns with certain colors. By the last night of Chanukah, they just have to light what we have left!

The candles typically burn from thirty minutes to one hour. Make sure you have foil or a drip plate to pick up any wax that trickles down.


Lighting the Chanukah menorah during the Festival of Lights is a Jewish tradition that has been around for centuries. It is one that Jewish families around the world look forward to each and every year.