candle lighting songs

Candle Lighting Songs for Your Bar/Bat Mitzvah

Candle Lighting Song Suggestions: A Complete List

The candle lighting ceremony is an incredible opportunity for the Bar or Bat Mitzvah boy or girl to honor those closest to them who have made not only the day so special, but their lives so exceptional. While the rest of the day is centered around the Bar/Bat Mitzvah and their accomplishments (and rightfully so),  the candle lighting ceremony really is a unique moment to pay tribute to the significant people in your life. This is why it is so important that along with the poem or short anecdote you read during the ceremony, you choose candle lighting songs that are personal and showcase your connection to the people that you are lighting the candle for. The songs can be chosen for a variety of reasons. You had a shared experience listening to that song, the song reminds you of that person or group, or you love a particular song and it fits perfectly with how those honorees relate to your life. 

How does the candle lighting ceremony work?

At a certain point during the luncheon or party, a large display of candles will be brought out to the center of the floor. This can either be a decoration in and of itself or candles on top of a birthday cake. The Bar/Bat Mitzvah will give short speeches (typically rhyming) to a person or a group of people and ask them to come up to the display and light a candle together. While the honoree is walking from his/her seat up to light the candle, a song is played. There isn’t a set number of candles you need to light — it’s very subjective — and depends upon how you delegate the various groups but 13 candles for 13 years is standard plus one for good luck. The candle lighting ceremony ends when the Bar/Bat Mitzvah blows out all of the candles. 

The candle lighting ceremony will undoubtedly be emotional to all those involved, but it also puts a stop to the DJ and the dancing for a solid bit of time during the Bar/Bat Mitzvah. It’s prudent to keep the speeches short and sweet and to try and plan for a time where you won’t abruptly halt the flow of the celebration. 

There are a variety of amalgamations to make 13 different groups of people. You might have a lot of aunts, uncles, and cousins. So, you can choose to have each side of the family come up to light a candle or separate the groups by aunts and uncles and then have all of the cousins come up and light a candle. Friends can all come up to light a candle as one big group or you can divide them up by how they know the Bar/Bat Mitzvah (camp friends, family friends, school friends, etc.) or separate the boys and the girls.

Candle Lighting Songs

Memorial Songs

Candle in the Wind – Elton John

I Will Always Love You -Whitney Houston  

I Will Remember You – Sarah McLaughlin

Memory- Barbara Streisand (Theme from Cats)   

Memories  –  Elvis Presley   

He Lives in You – The Lion King Broadway Soundtrack

For Good – Wicked

Angel – Sarah McLachlan

Somewhere Over the Rainbow – Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

You’ll Be in My Heart – Phil Collins 

Unforgettable – Natalie & Nat Cole

I Was Here – Beyonce 

Candle Lighting Songs for Parents

Everlasting Love – Gloria Estefan

The Best – Tina Turner

I Got You Babe – Sonny & Cher

Love and Marriage – Frank Sinatra

Through the Years – Kenny Rogers

You’re the Inspiration – Chicago

Candle Lighting Songs for Siblings

All-Star – Smash Mouth

Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better – Ethel Merman

One Call Away – Charlie Puth

Together Forever – Rick Astley


Bad Boys – Inner Circle

Let’s Hear It For The Boy – Denise Williams

Macho Man – Village Man


Dancing Queen – Abba 

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun – Cindy Lauper

Just A Girl – No Doubt  

Songs for Grandparents

Sunrise, Sunset – Fiddler on the Roof

All You Need Is Love – Beatles   

Forever Young – Rod Stewart  

La Chaim (To Life) – Fiddler on the Roof 

How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You – James Taylor  

Because You Loved Me – Celine Dion

Sunrise, Sunset – Fiddler on the Roof

All You Need Is Love – Beatles   

Forever Young – Rod Stewart  

La Chaim (To Life) – Fiddler on the Roof 

How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You – James Taylor  

Because You Loved Me – Celine Dion

Can You Feel The Love Tonight – Elton John

Songs for Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins

The Addams Family Theme Song

Celebration – Kool & The Gang

We Are Family – Sister Sledge

What I Like About You – The Romantics

I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch) – The Four Tops

Songs for Friends

With a Little Help From My Friends – Beatles

Born To Be Wild – Steppenwolf 

I’ll Be There For You – Rembrants (Theme from Friends)

That’s What Friends Are For – Dionne Warwick & Friends  

We Go Together – Cast of Grease 

We’re All in This Together-High School Musical

Who Let The Dogs Out – Baha Men 

Friend Like Me – Aladdin Soundtrack 

“My Life Would Suck Without You” – Kelly Clarkson or Glee Cast

Candle Lighting Ceremony Alternatives

Whether you are having a socially distanced Bar/Bat Mitzvah or simply wish to include everyone in the candle lighting ceremony, there are other ways that you can honor the people that are there with the Bar/Bat Mitzvah on their special day.

If you would like to include every party guest, you can separate the attendees into larger groups and have everyone stand up at their seat instead of coming forward. You can place candles and matches or battery operated candles at every person’s seat and by the time the Bar/Bat Mitzvah has lit the final candle, every guest will have as well and the room will be filled with light.

You can also have each of the honorees pour grape juice or wine into a wine glass to “fill up your cup”. Sand ceremonies have also grown in popularity as many see it as better, socially distanced alternative.

Did you enjoy the post about candle lighting songs? There are more posts filled with B’nai Mitzvah content on the BMA blog!

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