A kiddush cup is a special goblet used to hold wine or grape juice for the blessing over it. Typically used for Shabbat and Jewish holidays, it’s often a focal point on the table. It is also a popular item to gift at bar and bat mitzvahs, weddings, and other events.
While any cup could technically serve as a kiddush cup, silver is often preferred. Generally speaking it must be large enough to hold a revi’it of wine (3.8 fl. oz or 112 ml). It can be stemmed or without a stem. It can be crafted from glass, ceramics, pewter, fine china, or even silver. The designs may be simple or more intricate and include themes such as fruit, stars, birds, initials, or other religious motifs. Occasionally a contemporary artist will use other materials to create an evocative look for the cup such as bronze, copper, or stainless steel.
Usually, the cup is marked with the words “Shabbat Kodesh” or “Borei Pri Hagen.” Sometimes it will feature iconography of the Old City of Jerusalem and the Temple. Some have a more organic look with floral or lace patterns while others are sculptural and may evoke elements of nature like mountains or waterfalls.
A special kiddush cup called an Elijah cup is brought out during Passover to represent the prophet who is believed to announce Moshiach and end exile. Similarly, a special cup called a cup of remembrance is used for memorial services. kiddush cup