All the Ways to Have Fun with a Dreidel!


All the Ways to Have Fun with a Dreidel!

Hanukkah is from December 18th to December 26th this year! For those who don’t know, Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days every year in November or December because it always falls on the 25th day of Kislev in the Hebrew calendar. During Hanukkah, many celebrate by cooking and baking incredible food, lighting the menorah, and playing the dreidel game.

There’s more than one way to have fun with a dreidel. Learn the game and history, and include your pup in the gift exchange. Our Plush Dreidel is for your pup to celebrate Hanukkah!

What Is A Dreidel?

A dreidel is a small four-sided spinning top that’s used in a game by the same name. It’s played by small children during Hanukkah, but everyone of all ages (and species!) can get involved in the fun. A dreidel has a Hebrew letter on each side: Nun, Gimel, Hey or Chai, and Shin. The letters form an acronym for the Hebrew saying Nes Gadol Hayah Sham, which can be translated to "a great miracle happened there," referring to the miracle which Hanukkah is centered around.

History of the Dreidel

It’s speculated that the dreidel has deeper ties and meaning to Judaism and the Hanukkah story than it may seem at first glance. One 19th-century rabbi maintained that Jews played with the dreidel in order to fool the Greeks if they were caught studying Torah, sometimes in caves, from the Seleucids under Antiochus IV. At the first sign of Seleucids approaching, their Torah scrolls would be concealed and be replaced by dreidels.

Other historians may have figured out an elaborate numerological explanation that is based on the fact that every Hebrew letter has a numerical equivalent. Specifically, Nun, Gimmel, Hey/Chair, and Shin equal 358, which is also the numerical equivalent of Mashiach, or Messiah! (My Jewish Learning).

How to Play Dreidel

Playing the game of dreidel is easy and learning how to do so would be a great way to learn more about different holidays and cultures.

To play dreidel, each player puts one item from their pile of tokens into the center, making a 'pot'. Everyone takes a turn spinning the dreidel, and the letter that comes up when it lands determines what the player can do.

Nun means the player does nothing. Gimmel means the player gets everything in the pot. Hei means the player gets half of the pieces in the pot. If there is an odd number of pieces in the pot, the player rounds up! Shin means the player adds a game piece to the pot. Other players chant "Shin, Shin, put one in!" when the unlucky player's dreidel falls on this side. At the end of a player's turn, every player places another token into the pot.

When the player runs out of pieces, they are either out of the game or can ask another player for a loan. Overall, this is a great game to play with chocolate coins or small presents, and overall just have fun together!

Plush Dreidel

Give Your Dog a Dreidel Of Their Own This Hanukkah!

There’s more than one way to have fun with a dreidel. Play dreidel with your friends and family. Learn the history of the dreidel. Include your pup in the gift exchange on one of eight nights of Hanukkah by giving them their own Plush Dreidel to enjoy themselves, too. Your pup is a part of the family and the Plush Dreidel can bring the holiday spirit to you as well as your dog.

We hope you learned something new and feel more excited for the holiday season. Happy Hanukkah from HuggleHounds®!

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