Bar Mitzvah Candle CeremonyOne important occasion being celebrated by Jewish families is the bar/bat mitzvah. This is the time when a 12-year-old girl or 13-year-old boy becomes responsible for his actions as he or she enters adulthood.
In traditional bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah celebrations, the candle lighting ceremony is a major segment. This is where the celebrant acknowledges his entry into adulthood and honors the people close to his heart such as his family and friends. It is also during this part when the honorees light candles and recite special poems as a way of giving their wishes to the celebrant.
It should be understand, though, that this ceremony is not in any way a religious rite nor a ritual. It evolved as a way to honor people and as a great photo opportunity. The people to take part in lighting the candles should be chosen beforehand. They are normally close family members and friends.
The ceremony involves a table set with 13 or 14 candles. The 13 candles represent the boyís life while the additional candles can be for good luck, for the deceased relatives and for out-of-town guests who canít make it to the event.
It starts with the boy or girl celebrant making a speech that includes poems and reading portions of the Torah or the Jewish Bible and the Haftarah. After this, the celebrant or the master of ceremonies announces the name of one honoree. As the honoree walks up to the podium, an explanation is read describing the relationship of the honoree to the celebrant. These descriptions are normally written in poems that rhyme. The honoree then lights a candle and gives his or her wishes for the bar mitzvah / bat mitzvah.
As the candle is lit or as the honoreeís name is being called, a special song is usually played. However, variations can be made in this portion. Itís either different songs that represent certain themes are played for each honoree or just one continuous song is played during the entire rite.
To make the ceremony extra special, a donation can be made for each candle lit in name of the honoree. Charity giving is a hot trend among bar mitzvah and bat mitzvah celebrants today. These kids have been influenced by their parents and religious leaders who taught them the value of sharing their blessings especially monetary gifts.
The typical order of honorees is the great grandparents first, followed by the grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, older relatives, younger relatives, family friends, the childís friends, siblings, parents and the bar mitzvah / bat mitzvah.
The candles to be used here can be bought by the parents themselves and adorned with ribbons. Otherwise, a party coordinator may already include them in the package. This ceremony need not be too serious. Incorporating anecdotes and sharing funny experiences are a good way to lighten up the mood during the ceremony. To make it entertaining, the host may request the honorees beforehand to prepare a unique personal wish or blessing for the celebrant.
Read more articles on the subject: Bar Mitzvah Traditions Still Being Observed Today
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