MEnorah Hanukkah Germany
Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal lights a menorah on the sixth day of Hanukkah at the Orthodox synagogue at the Chabad-Lubavitch Jewish Education Center, Dec. 6, 2010 in Berlin, Germany. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The first candle on Hanukkah menorahs will be lit on Saturday, with seven more to follow over each night of the Jewish Festival of Lights. But there’s more to the ritual than simply lighting candles. Prayers, or blessings, also play an important role in the wintertime holiday.

Hanukkah, or Chanukah, has its origins in the Maccabean Jews’ successful uprising against the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire in the 2nd century BC. One they had rededicated the Holy Temple, which had been desecrated under the rule of Antiochus, they discovered that there was only enough oil to light the menorah for a single day. Instead, the candles stayed burning for eight days, giving birth to the Hanukkah miracle and an eight-branch menorah, as opposed to the regular seven.

When it comes to celebrating Hanukkah, the menorah should be placed in your home with a straight even line of candles, with the ninth, middle, candle, known as the Shamash, either higher or lower. The Hanukkah lights can be either candle flames or oil-fueled.

First, light the Shamash then take it in your hand and use it to light the other eight candles on each of the nights, moving from left to right. But before lighting the other candles, and with the Shamash in your hand, the following blessings should be recited or sung.

Blessing One
"Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the Chanukah light."

The miracle is then specifically commemorated.

Blessing Two
“Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe, Who performed miracles for our ancestors in those days at this time.”

When lighting the first candle on the first night of Hanukkah, which this year falls on Dec. 24, the following blessing should also be uttered.

“Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion.”

As well as the blessings, there are some other important words to remember during Hanukkah. When greeting people, wish them a Happy Hanukkah by saying “Hanukkah Sameach,” or the more general term that can be sued for any holiday, “Chag Sameach.”