Candles are an important part of the Jewish faith. They are a symbol of God’s divine presence, utilised during holidays to remind everyone around the dining table that they are in God’s company and the occasion is holy.
They are also beautiful. It is amazing what a few flickering candles in silver candlesticks can do to a dinner table. A table can go from looking simple to looking beautiful, professional and luxurious; a perfect space to bring the family together and give thanks to your ancestors.
If you are a candle lover, you will probably be aware of scented candles, too. Although it is the candle flame that is important during Jewish holidays, placing scented candles into those candlesticks can have even more of an influence on the holiday itself, amplifying the meaning and context behind the celebration. To give you an idea, here are a few examples:
For Sukkot, Citrus Fruit
For anyone who has celebrated Sukkot, you will know how important the etrog is to the holiday. This is a citrus fruit which is held together with the lulav and waved gently in six directions, representing the various personalities that are present within the community of Israel and the unity that is being celebrated. In preparation for this event, it is a great idea to use citrus-scented candles on your dinner table. This will be a constant reminder of the etrog and its importance in the ceremony as a whole.
For Hanukkah, Vanilla And Apple
Taking place in December, Hanukkah is one of the biggest holidays in the Jewish calendar, and nothing says Hanukkah more than the scent of apples and vanilla desserts wafting from the kitchen. There is a certain comforting feel to these fragrances, so it’s a great idea to utilise them throughout the household and keep the spirit of family and togetherness strong through their smell.
For Rosh Hashana, Honey
Keeping on the subject of food, one of the most popular desserts during Rosh Hashanah has to be honey-cake. Every child in a Jewish household will likely grow up with the scents of honey and cake emanating from the kitchen during this period. Honey, especially, is an important food in the Jewish culture, and it will always place you back to a happy childhood memory. In this way, there’s nothing stopping you from finding honey-scented candles and making sure those memories are ever-present within your own household – all in preparation for the new ones you are about to create!
For The Sabbath, Mixed Fruit
The Sabbath is the seventh day of the week, beginning on Friday and ending on Saturday, used for worshipping God and appreciating the life that has been given to you. Because it happens every week, it can be hard to do something special all the time, but as mentioned previously, candles are there to remind you that the day is holy and should be appreciated. For this reason, it can be a good idea to signify this day with mixed fruit-scented candles, symbolising the popular Sabbath dessert marak perot – which is made of fruit compote.
For Yom Hashoah, Unscented
This may seem like a strange thing to add to a list of “scented candles”, but it is necessary to note this. If you are used to hosting holidays in your family – and you want to follow this list – then it’s a good idea to strip it back and go for unscented candles on Yom Hashoah. This is an emotional and important holiday where Jews across the globe come together to remember the lives of their wronged ancestors. The candle is lit in respect and mourning, so it is important to simply let the light shine and symbolise the importance of life and its beautiful simplicity.