My prayer book says The Chanukah lights should be kindled as soon as possible after nightfall. I live in Melbourne, and due to the summer solstice and daylight saving, nightfall is very late (approximately 9:16 pm at this time of year).

I also understand that you're supposed to light the candles when people walking by will see them. What if "nightfall" is too late for that, as it might be in places in the Southern Hemisphere? Is nightfall determined astronomically, and if so, does that still apply if that means no one walking by will see the lights?

  • see kitzur shulchan aruch chapter 139, he says that most people kindle candles when stars bright. [here](www.yonanewman.org/kizzur/kiz-index1.html) is a link for English Translation of this book.
    – kouty
    Commented Dec 27, 2016 at 8:48
  • 1
    CJ, as @GershonGold pointed out, your original question has already been addressed here. I tried refocusing your question on the particular apparent conflict introduced by the Southern Hemisphere. If this isn't consistent with your intent, please edit accordingly.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Dec 27, 2016 at 14:20
  • How will anyone see them during the day? If no one is outside at night you can light for your family, just as if you lived in the middle of nowhere.
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 27, 2016 at 14:56

1 Answer 1


A blog in The Times of Israel makes it clear that the normal time of lighting (“as soon as possible after nightfall”) is observed in Melbourne Australia:

For starters, it only gets dark well after 9pm. There’s no rush to get home in time to light at dusk, and dinner is all over by candle lighting time. Indeed, we have to keep the smaller children up for candle lighting, after which we do our best to get them to bed!


Add to this a multitude of outdoor Chanukah celebrations in shuls and local parks, typically culminating in a menorah lighting at dusk.

A Chabad article also for Melbourne starts:

Since the sun sets late in summer and the menorah should be lit around nightfall, the younger children’s lighting often winds up being the culmination of an evening of celebration.

But then the position is shaded slightly:

“We have a menorah parade in central Hobart and a public menorah-lighting outside the historic Launceston Synagogue,” says Rabbi Yochanan Gordon, who co-directs Chabad of Tasmania in Australia with his wife, Rochel, “but we do it all when it’s still daytime.”

Gordon says the Talmud teaches that the proper time for lighting a menorah is from dusk—sometimes not until 9 p.m. there–until the last few stragglers are leaving the public market, in this case, the city streets.

“Since our public menorah is electric, it does not qualify for the mitzvah in any case, but if we were to wait for the proper time,” he reasons, “there would be very few stragglers indeed.”

That means that the proper time remains around nightfall but Chabad there have public celebrations which do not technically constitute lighting the menorah.


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