The ninth holder, called the shamash ("helper or servant"), is for a candle used to light all other candles. It is among the most widely produced articles of Jewish ceremonial art.
The Hanukkah MenorahDuring the festival of Hanukkah, a special Hanukkah Menorah also called a Hanukkiah (or Chanukah), is lit.
The Hanukkah Menorah is a candelabrum with eight branches of equal size that all sit in a row (one for each night of the festival of Hanukkah) and a separate candle holder for the "Shamash." The Shamash candle is used to light the other eight candles since it is forbidden to use the Hanukkah lights for any purpose other than viewing. When lit, the Hanukkah Menorah should be placed in a front window or by a doorway for all to see.
Lighting the Hanukkah Menorah is a joyous occasion. The Hanukkah Menorah is lit to commemorate the Jewish Maccabees' miraculous victory over the Greek-Syrian army and the one-days-worth of pure oil that miraculously lasted for eight days in the Temple.
Jewish families gather around their Hanukkah Menorah during each night of Hanukkah to recite the Hanukkah blessings, kindle the Hanukkah lights, sing Hanukkah songs, play the dreidel game and eat special Hanukkah food.
The common reason for the number of the candles is that they symbolize the eight days of the miracle. Each night an additional light is kindled – one on the first night, two on the second night; and so on – until on the eighth night of Hanukkah all eight candles, plus the shamash, are lit.