On Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, Jews usually eat a final pre-fast meal and then light candles at home before heading to synagogue in time for Kol Nidre, a prayer that is said in the last moments before the sun goes down.
Before lighting candles on Yom Kippur, make sure you and your family is fed and dressed and ready for the holiday. Once the candles are lit, your fast has begun. Many people also bless their children before lighting the candles.
For Yom Kippur, it is traditional to light two holiday candles, just like Shabbat. Many people who have lost a parent first light a yahrzheit candle in that parent’s memory. The two holiday candles burn down in a few hours, but the yahrzheit candle should burn through the entire 25 hours of the holiday.
Blessing for lighting candles*
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּֽנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֵר שֶׁל (שַׁבָּת וְשֶׁל) יוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִים
Baruch ata adonai eloheinu melech ha-olam asher kiddishanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu l’hadlik ner shel (shabbat v’shel) yom ha-kippurim.
Blessed are you, Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe who has sanctified us with his commandments and commanded us to light the (Shabbat and) Yom Kippur candles.
*Include the words in parentheses only when Yom Kippur begins on Friday night and therefore coincides with Shabbat.
After lighting candles, it is traditional to recite the prayer for reaching milestones:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְּמָן הַזֶּה
Baruch ata adonai eloheinu melech ha-olam shehechiyanu v’kiyimanu v’higiyanu la-zman ha-zeh.
Blessed are you, Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe who has kept us alive, sustained us, and allowed us to reach this moment.