Abrahamic / Middle Eastern Judaism Hanukkah Songs to Celebrate the Holiday Share Flipboard Email Print Roy Morsch/Corbis/Gettty Images Judaism Important Holidays Basics Culture Prayers and Worship By Ariela Pelaia Updated May 03, 2019 Hanukkah is a celebratory Jewish holiday that lasts for eight days and nights. The holiday this holiday commemorates the re-dedication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem following the victory of Jews over Jthe Syrian-Greeks in 165 BCE. In addition to eating Hanukkah foods and giving gifts, many Jews enjoy celebrating this holiday by singing songs together. Below are eight popular Hanukkah songs to sing with friends and loved ones this year. Many include audio links so that you can hear examples of the songs. Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah "Hanukkah, Oh Hannukka" (also known as "Oh Chanukh") is the English version of a traditional Yiddish song known as "Oy Chanukah." Authorship of the words has long-since been lost, but different classical composers have made use of the basic melody, including Hirsch Kopy and Joseph Achront. The lyrics are upbeat phrases aimed at children playing: Hanukkah, oh Hanukkah, come light the menorahLet's have a party, we'll all dance the horahGather 'round the table, we'll give you a treatDreydles to play with and latkes to eat.And while we are playing the candles are burning lowOne for each night they shed a sweetLight to remind us of days long agoOne for each night they shed a sweetLight to remind us of days long ago. Ma’Oz Tzur (Rock of Ages) This traditional Hanukkah song is believed to have been composed during the Crusades of the 13th century by Mordechai. The hymn is a poetic retelling of Jewish deliverance from four ancient enemies, Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, Haman, and Antiochus: Ma-oz Tzur Y'shu-a-tiLe-cha Na-eh L'sha-bei-achTi-kon Beit T'fi-la-tiV'sham To-da N'za-bei-achL'eit Ta-chin Mat-bei-achMi-tzar Ha-mi-ga-bei-achAz Eg-mor B'shir Miz-morCha-nu-kat Ha-miz-bei-achAz Eg-mor B'shir Miz-morCha-nu-kat Ha-miz-bei-achTranslation:Rock of ages, let our songPraise Your saving power;You, amid the raging foes,Were our sheltering tower.Furious they assailed us,But Your arm availed us,And Your word,Broke their sword,When our own strength failed us. I Have a Little Dreidel Another traditional Hanukkah song based on an old Hebrew song, the lyrics for the English version was written by Samual S. Grossman, with music composed by Samual E. Goldfarb. The lyrics speak of a children's toy, the dridel—a four-sided spinning top: I have a little dreidelI made it out of clayAnd when it's dry and readyThen dreidel I shall play!Chorus: Oh dreidel, dreidel, dreidelI made it out of clayAnd when it's dry and readyThen dreidel I shall play!It has a lovely bodyWith legs so short and thinAnd when my dreidel's tiredIt drops and then I win!(Chorus)My dreidel's always playfulIt loves to dance and spinA happy game of dreidelCome play now, let's begin!(Chorus) Sivivon, Sov, Sov, Sov This traditional Hanukkah song with Hebrew lyrics is sometimes known as "the other dreidel song." It is actually more popular in Israeli than "I Have a Little Dreidel." The lyrics of the song are a celebration of the Jewish people: Sivivon, sov, sov, sovChanuka, hu chag tovChanuka, hu chag tovSivivon, sov, sov, sov!Chag simcha hu la-amNes gadol haya shamNes gadol haya shamChag simcha hu la-am.(Translation): Dreidel, spin, spin, spin.Chanuka is a great holiday.It is a celebration for our nation.A great miracle happened there. The Latke Song This is a modern children's song written by Debbie Friedman, a modern folk composer famous for translating traditional Jewish texts and setting them to music in a way to make them accessible to modern audiences. The lyrics of this song were intended for a youth audience, up to about age 13: I am so mixed up that I cannot tell youI'm sitting in this blender turning brownI've made friends with the onions and the flourAnd the cook is scouting oil in town.I sit here wondering what will 'come of meI can't be eaten looking as I doI need someone to take me out and cook meOr I'll really end up in a royal stew.Chorus: I am a latke, I'm a latkeAnd I'm waiting for Chanukah to come.(Repeat)Every holiday has foods so specialI'd like to have that same attention tooI do not want to spend life in this blenderWondering what I'm supposed to do.Matza and charoset are for PesachChopped liver and challah for ShabbatBlintzes on Shavuot are deliciousAnd gefilte fish no holiday's without.(Chorus)It's important that I have an understandingOf what it is that I'm supposed to doYou see there are many who are homelessWith no homes, no clothes and very little food.It's important that we all rememberThat while we have most of the things we needWe must remember those who have so littleWe must help them, we must be the ones to feed. (Chorus) Ner Li Literally translated as "I Have a Candle," this is a simple Hebrew Hanukkah song highly popular in Israel. The words are by L. Kipnis and the music, by D. Samborski. The lyrics are a simple expression of spiritual illumination as represented by Hannukah: Ner li, ner liNer li dakeek.BaChanukah neri adlik.BaChanukah neri yairBaChanukah shirim ashir.(2x)Translation: I have a candle, a candle so lightOn Chanukah my candle burns bright.On Chanukah its light burns longOn Chanukah I sing this song. (2x) Ocho Kandelikas This popular Judaic/Spanish (Ladino) Hanukkah song translates in English as "Eight Little Candles." "Ocho Kandelikas" was written by the Jewish-American composer Flory Jagodain in 1983. The lyrics of the song describes a child joyfully lighting the menorah candles: Hanukah Linda sta akiOcho kandelas para mi,Hanukah Linda sta aki,Ocho kandelas para mi.Chorus: Una kandelikaDos kandelikasTres kandelikasKuatro kandelikasSintyu kandelikasseysh kandelikassiete kandelikasocho kandelas para mi.Muchas fiestas vo fazer, con alegrias i plazer.Muchas fiestas vo fazer, con alegrias i plazer.(Chorus)Los pastelikas vo kumer, con almendrikas i la miel.Los pastelikas vo kumer, con almendrikas i la miel.(Chorus)Translation: Beautiful Chanukah is here,eight candles for me. (2x)Chorus: One candle,two candles,three candles,four candles,five candles,six candles,seven candles... eight candles for me.Many parties will be held,with joy and with pleasure.(Chorus)We will eat pastelikos (a Sephardic delicacy) withalmonds and honey.(Chorus) Candles Bright In this very simple song for children, Linda Brown has set the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" to refer to the candles on a menorah: Twinkle, twinkle,Candle bright,Burning on thisSpecial night.Add another,Tall and straight,Every night 'tilThere are eight.Twinkle, twinkle,Candles eight,Hanukkah weCelebrate.