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The Significance of Yahrzeit Candles

Fox Monuments, as a provider of Jewish headstones, understands the significance of family to people of the Jewish faith. We also deeply respect the practice of paying tribute to and commemorating deceased loved ones. Jewish traditions are critical to the stages of mourning and burial.

In the Jewish faith, these cultural traditions extend well beyond the time of death. Yahrzeit candles are central to this tradition, with great significance to the grieving process.

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What Does a Yahrzeit Candle Represent?

In Yiddish, “Yahrzeit” translates to “time of year.” Therefore, Yahrzeit candles commemorate the one-year anniversary of a loved one’s death. By burning this candle, Jewish people show their love and appreciation for family members who have passed on. The candle, wick and flame all represent the human soul and body.

The flickering of the candle represents the fragility of life. Additionally, it represents the high importance of life and family. Like a Jewish headstone, lighting a Yahrzeit candle is one of the most important ways to remember a loved one.

When is the Appropriate Time to Light Yahrzeit Candles?

Yahrzeit candles are lit at sundown on the eve of the Yahrzeit, or the anniversary of a loved one’s death. They’re also lit at sundown on religious holidays, such as Yom Kippur, Sukkoth, Passover and Shavuot.

These candles should burn naturally until they cannot anymore, rather than being extinguished. It’s acceptable to light a Yahrzeit candle on the day of the anniversary if you forget the night before.

It is also customary to burn a Yahrzeit candle throughout the Shiva.

Who Should Light The Candles?

In a similar vein to the burial and installation of a Jewish headstone, Yahrzeit candles are generally reserved for immediate family members. This includes spouses, parents and children. Each family member should light a candle, unless they live in the same household. They should do this for each family member who has passed on.


Are There any Accompanying Customs?

There is no specific prayer the Jewish faith requires during a Yahrzeit. However, saying the Mourner’s Kaddish is a common tradition in some families.

There are many celebrated readings that mourners recite at Jewish memorials. It’s important to remember the life and legacy of those you lost when selecting a poem or text to read during the service. Whichever piece (or pieces) best reflects your loved one is the optimal one to read aloud.

It is customary to honor the memory of the deceased during this time. Reflection on the positive memories of your loved ones, and the happy times you shared, is a fitting tribute for their life. Sharing the positive stories of your loved ones will keep their memory alive forever.



At Fox Monuments, our primary goal has always been to provide as much comfort and support to mourning families as we can. We make every effort to remain respectful to and considerate of the grieving process as you order your Jewish headstone.

We take great pride in helping families through difficult times, and with minimal stress. Contact us to learn more about how we can craft a beautiful monument for your loved one.