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The Chanukah Dreidel (Dreidle)


The dreidel is one of the best known symbols of Chanukah. A four-sided top with a Hebrew letter on each side, the dreidel is used to play a fun Chanukah game of chance.



SHIN, HEY,  GIMEL,  NUN


The letters on the dreidel, Nun, Gimmel, Hey and Shin, stand for the Nes Gadol Haya Sham, which means A Great Miracle Happened There.


In Israel, the modern-day land of Judea in which the story of Chanukah took place, the letters on the dreidel are Nun, Gimmel, Hey and Peh, which stand for A Great Miracle Happened Here (Po, in Hebrew).


To play the game of dreidel, two to four players each get a handful of pennies or chocolate money called gelt. The remainder of the pot is left in the middle. The youngest players spins the dreidel and depending on what letter the top lands on, he or she will:


NUN - Lose his turn, the top passes to the next player.


GIMEL - Win all the pot.


HEY - Win half the pot


SHIN (or PEH) - Lose all of his coins


The dreidel -- or Sivivon in Hebrew, from the verb to spin -- continues to be passed around the circle until one player has won everyone's coins. The word dreidel comes from a Yiddish word meaning to turn.


According to some historians, Jews first played with a spinning top during the rule of the Greek King Antiochus'. In Judea, Antiochus had outlawed Jewish worship, so the Jews would use a game with the spinning top as a ruse to conceal that they were secretly studying Torah.


Dreidels can be made out of just about anything -- from wood, plastic or polymer to precious metals (although perhaps you shouldn't let your kids play with the solid gold dreidel!) You can even make a dreidel at home out of an old milk carton. Read our Chanukah craft article to see how.



Make your own dreidel!

Make your own dreidel with our easy to make pattern. You can print this pattern directly from your browser. Color or paint anyway you'd like




Play our Dreidel Game










Like this article?

Related Articles:
Who Were The Maccabees?
The Chanukah Menorah
The Prayer for Lighting the Chanukah Menorah
Lighting the Chanukah Menorah
Shop for Chanukah Without Breaking the Bank


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Comments
Comment
? from Wyoming, US
12:33 11/21/2011
 
yay dreidle
Comment
bob from Colorado, US
12:43 11/17/2011
 
this game is cool
Comment
JuJU from Florida, US
18:16 10/25/2011
 
Thnaks a lot for putting this up. We had to do a project on Chanukah and this really helped. I now understand why the Jewish people play this game. :)
Comment
Diamond from Alabama, US
12:20 10/11/2011
 
i love dis man
Comment
sue from Alaska, US
08:46 05/09/2011
 
i love dis
Comment
sydney from Kentucky, US
12:56 04/24/2011
 
i am Jewwish
Comment
Edgar Jimenez from Idaho, US
19:17 04/08/2011
 
When I first saw a dredle,I'm like "what the heck do the symbols mean?" I searched here found out what they mean and more.
Comment
? from Iowa, US
15:15 02/04/2011
 
this is a cool dredel
Comment
Jake Mooney from Maryland, US
11:51 12/22/2010
 
Jews are cool with their dreidels!
Comment
casey cronin
18:09 12/20/2010
 
this game is so fun



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