A menorah is a nine-branched candelabrum, lit during the Jewish festival of Hanukkah. During each of the eight nights of the festival of lights, a candle is lit and placed in the menorah. The ninth candle is used to light the others on each successive night. The menorah is the most widely produced article for Jewish ceremonial worship and is equally recognizable to the Star of David as a symbol of Judaism.
Hanukkah commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem at the end of the Maccabean Revolt in the 2nd century BCE. According to legend, when Judah Maccabees ordered the Temple to be cleansed, only unadulterated olive oil could be used in the Temple’s menorah, and it was required to burn for eight nights. Only enough oil for one night could be found, but miraculously burned for all eight nights.
Hanukkah generally occurs from late November to late December, and the menorah can frequently be found on public display with other holiday symbols. Since 1979, the President of the United States has presided over the lighting of the National Menorah in Washington, D.C. The world’s largest menorah can be found in Indonesia, a 7-branch menorah standing 62 feet tall. There are two 32-foot tall menorahs in New York City. Because of their height, a Con Edison crane is needed to assist in lifting a person to light each candle. Many modern menorahs no longer need to be in the traditional curved form.