A while ago I performed at the day school of a beautiful synagogue located near my home. Although it was still weeks from Hanukkah, one young boy in the front row kept popping up his hand to ask when I would sing the dreidel (or dreydyl) song. When we finally performed the song, his face lit up and he sang the words with such gusto that everyone around him broke out in a huge grin. No matter what holidays you observe, this type of joy and anticipation is why special songs and customs are such beautiful ways to share our deeply held beliefs and faith with our children.
So what is the dreydl song? It’s a very simple song about the little top that spins and spins that’s used as a part of a special Hanukkah game. In fact, the word “dreyen” is Yiddish for “spin” so you can see how the wonderful little top got it’s name. Most of the dreydls you’ll find today are made of wood or plastic, but the song talks about a dreydl made of clay. As you can imagine, toys were simpler in days gone by, so people not only played the game, but also made their own special dreydels as part of the holiday fun.
How do you play the dredyl game? You can check out the rules in the print out below or you can look closely and see them in this video of the dreydl song.
So where is the dreydl played? The answer to that is simple. Anywhere you find people getting ready for Hanuakah – which means – all over the world. I’ve created an animation of a Hanukkah song from Spain and you can see the little dreydls and the menorah along other holiday fun here as well:
And what if you’re feeling crafty? If so, I recommend a great little book called: Hanukkah Fun, Great Things To Make And Do. Along with step by step instructions on making and baking an old fashioned dreydl, you’ll find great Hanukkah sweets, treats and marvelous crafts that help celebrate the history and wonder of the Festival of Lights. You can find that book reviewed at the link below.
So if the prospect of the holidays has your head spinning. Why not slow down and bit and play a game that reflects the miracle of the holiday of lights – let the little dreydyl spin and spin for you!
I have a little dreydl
I made it out of clay
And when it’s dry and ready
A dreydl I will play
Oh dreydl, dreydl, dreydl
I made you out of clay
And when you’re dry and ready
A dreydl I will play
My dreydl has four corners
And a letter on each face
To remind us if the miracle
That long ago took place
The letters also tell us
Who will lose or win
I have a pile of goodies (walnuts)
I’m ready, let’s begin
Oh Dreydl, Lyric sheet
Oh Dreydl, Printable Lyric Sheet
Oh Dreydl, Printable Sheet Music
Play the Dreydyl Game pdf here
Hanukkah Fun, Great Things To Make And Do
Ocho Candelikas Lyric sheet
Ocho Candelikas Printable Lyric Sheet