Friday, December 3, 2010

Song Lyrics: Two Hanukkah Songs

In honor of Hanukkah, I'd like to share two of my favorite songs of the season. I'm not Jewish, but I have friends who are, so this is dedicated to them.

Dreidel Song (I am a Little Dreidel. Yiddish: Ikh bin A Kleyner Dreidel)
I have a little Dreidel
I made it out of clay,
And when it's dry and ready
O Dreidel I shall play.

A dreidel ("Sevivon" in Hebrew) is a 4-sided top. Each side has a Hebrew letter: Nun, Gimel, Hei, Shin, which is short for "Nes Gadol Hayah Sham", "A Great Miracle Happened There." Each player starts with the same number of tokens (like chocolate coins, or 'gelt') and spin the dreidel during their turn. 

If Nun comes up, nothing is done
   gimel,              , the player takes the entire pot in the middle.
   hei                   , the player takes half (or half plus one, if there's an odd number)
   shin                 , the player puts one token in the middle.

The few times I've played the Dreidel game, I've always been the first one to run out of money. I'm the first to admit I have lousy luck in games of chance.

Oh, Chanukah! (Chanukah is another spelling of Hanukkah. It's the same thing.)

Oh Chanukah, Oh Chanukah
Come light the menorah
Let's have a party
We'll all dance the horah
Gather round the table, we'll give you a treat
Dreidels to play with, and latkes to eat

Menorah: A candleholder with nine branches. The ninth candle is the "shamash" (helper) from which the other eight are lit, one candle per day of Hanukkah.
Horah: A circle dance
latke: Potato pancake

All original writing and art copyright A. Dameron 2000-2010

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