Shabbat candles (נרות שבת) are lit on Friday evening before sunset.
From time immemorial the Jewish people have greeted the Shabbat by fulfilling the mitzvah of lighting candles on Friday evening. This moment, when Shabbat begins, brings peace, tranquility, light and holiness to the Jewish home. Shabbat candlesticks are a sacred item and important symbol of the traditions of the Jewish house.
In the Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism), the image of a multicolored flame emanating from a candle is taken as a metaphor for God’s relation to the world and man. The flame is a single entity, yet it appears to be undergoing constant change. The flame adheres to, relies on, and appears to emanate from the candle, yet is a distinct and separate entity. The white interior of the flame is constant, but its exterior is always in motion and changes color - creating possibilities and allowing us to "illumine our eyes".
Candles have illuminated the history of Judaism for thousands of years and play a pivotal role in our celebratory cycle, from Temple to tables.