Chanukah is the festival of lights.
Chanukah, meaning “dedication” in Hebrew, refers to the joyous eight-day celebration during which Jews commemorate the victory of the Macabees over the armies of Syria in 165 B.C.E. and the subsequent liberation and “re-dedication” of the Temple in Jerusalem. During the holiday, there is a custom of eating foods fried or baked in oil to commemorate the miracle of a small flask of oil keeping the flame in the Temple alight for eight days.
Lighting the candles:
Candles are added to the Chanukiah from right to left but are kindled from left to right. The newest candle is lit first. (On the Shabbat of Chanukah, kindle the Chanukah lights first and then the Shabbat candles.)
Light the Shamash – the helper candle – first using it to kindle the rest of the Chanukah lights; say or sing:
Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tsivanu l’hadlik ner shel Chanukah.
Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of all, who hallows us with mitzvot, commanding us to kindle the Chanukah lights.
Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, she-asah nisim laavoteinu v’imoteinu bayamim hahaeim baz’man hazeh.
Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of all, who performed wonderous deeds for our ancestors in days of old at this season.
For first night only:
Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, shehecheyanu v’kiy’manu v’higianu laz’man hazeh.
Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of all, for giving us life, for sustaining us, and for enabling us to reach this season.