How To Celebrate Havdalah

a family makes Havdalah together

Havdalah, or “separation” in Hebrew, is Shabbat’s closing ritual, when three stars appear on Saturday evening. In a simple multi-sensory ceremony, with blessings over lights, wine or grape juice, and spices, Havdalah is an inspiring way to end Shabbat and start the new week as a family. 

Ready to make Havdalah at home? Follow along below:

Setting Up

Here is what you will need for Havdalah:

A cup of grape juice or wine (a kiddush cup is customary, but any cup will do)

Pleasant-smelling spices (in a jar, from the garden, in a spicebox – however your family prefers)

A multi-wick candle (a braided Havdalah candle or any two candles with wicks held together)

How To

To create the right mood, it’s nice to lower the lights or turn them off completely, so the flames of the Havdalah candle can cast their spell. (Most Havdalah candles are drippy, so make sure to put tin foil, newspaper, or a dish underneath.)

Each person has a “job”--one holds the lit candle, one holds the spices, and another holds the cup of grape juice or wine. At the end of Shabbat, when the first three stars are seen, form a circle as a group. Have each of the three havdalah items held by a different person. Recite the havdalah blessings or follow along with the videos below. As each item is mentioned, it is made available to the group: the cup is held up, the spices are smelled, and the candle is observed.


Here are Havdalah Sing-Along Videos. You can learn the blessings over wine, spices, fire, and a final blessing, and end Havdalah with the song “Eliyahu Hanavi” (Elijah the Prophet). Elijah is the symbol of human redemption, and reminds us of the world we strive for each new week – a world of peace, compassion, and justice.

The first video (with BBYO) includes the short version of the final blessing, plus guitar chords! The second video (with Moishe House and Bimbam) includes the long version of the final blessing. The third video is the song Eliyahu Hanavi.




5 Havdalah Activities For Families
Teaching Children About Shabbat