When Should Yahrzeit Candles Be Lit?

When Should Yahrzeit Candles Be Lit?

Yahrzeit candles hold a profound significance in the Jewish faith. Many know what they are, and why we light them, but a commonly asked question is, “When should Yahrzeit candles be lit?” 

The True Meaning Behind Yahrzeit Candles

The lighting of a Yahrzeit, or Yiskor candle, symbolizes your loved one’s soul and spirit. By lighting it, you and your family are keeping the deceased’s memory alive within the hearts of family and friends. Besides honoring their memory, these serve as a reminder of the spiritual connection that transcends physical life. This tradition is deeply rooted in the Jewish practice of honoring and remembering the deceased. 

When Should You Light Yahrzeit Candles?

It is customary to light Yahrzeit candles on five important occasions throughout the year, including:

The Anniversary Of A Loved One’s Passing

Also known as “year time” in Yiddish, Yahrzeit marks the anniversary of a loved one’s death. The deceased’s closest family members observe this day as a time of reflection for the person who passed.

In most cases, those observing Yahrzeit will light the memorial candle that burns for 24 hours, attend synagogue services, and recite prayers, especially the Mourner’s Kaddish.

Yom Kippur

Many families light the Yahrzeit memorial candle at sunset on the eve of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. It’s the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, dedicated to fasting, prayer, and repentance. Lighting a Yahrzeit candle allows individuals to honor those who have passed on during their personal atonement and reflection.

Shemini Atzeret

Shemini Atzeret is the eighth day of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot and marks a time of assembly and prayer. A Yahrzeit candle is lit at sunset on the eve of Shemini Atzeret, allowing you to reflect on the deceased while celebrating the close of the festival season.


During Passover, a Yahrzeit candle is lit at sunset on the eve of the last day of the holiday. Passover is a time of renewal, and lighting a Yahrzeit candle is a tribute to any family member who can no longer participate in the celebration.


A Yahrzeit candle is also lit at sundown on the second day of Shavuot, which celebrates the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. Lighting this candle allows families to remember their loved ones while renewing their commitment to the Torah and Jewish teachings. 

Keeping The Memory Alive

By lighting Yahrzeit candles on these significant dates, you honor and remember your loved ones in a traditional, meaningful way. 

Star Of David Memorial Chapels Is Here To Help

We offer an online tool for Yahrzeit reminders, please click here and enter your loved one’s date of death by Hebrew date or according to the Gregorian calendar. For Yiskor dates and candle lighting reminders, follow us on Facebook

If you need assistance with planning funeral services or have further questions about dealing with a loved one’s passing, our funeral directors at Star of David Memorial Chapels, on Long Island, New York are here for you. Please contact us at 631-454-9600 to learn more about our services.   

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