Chanukah Song – “I Have a Little Dreidel” and The Dreidel Game

The Dreidel Song is very popular at this time of year. Dreidels are tops. Here are the lyrics…

I Have a Little Dreidel

I have a little dreidel
I made it out of clay,
And when it’s dry and ready
Then dreidel I shall play.

O dreidel, dreidel, dreidel
I made it out of clay,
And when it’s dry and ready
Then dreidel I shall play.

It has a lovely body
With legs so short and thin,
And when my dreidel’s tired
It drops and then I win.


My dreidel’s always playful
It loves to dance and spin,
A happy game of dreidel
Come play now, let’s begin.


Here’s the Tune to the Dreidel Song

Children are often given dreidels for Hanukkah. Dreidels are tops that have four Hebrew letters on them. One letter is on each side of the dreidel. The letters are nun, gimel, hay, and shin.

The Dreidel Game

The dreidel game is usually played using chocolate in the shape of a coin, often wrapped in gold foil. Each player puts a coin in the “pot”. They then take turns spinning the dreidel. The letter the dreidel lands on will determine what happens next.

נ – Nun = nothing happens
ג – Gimel = you get the whole pot
ה – Hay = you take half of the pot
ש- Shin = you put a coin into the pot

If the pot ends up being empty, each player has to add a coin. If someone loses all their coins, they’re out of the game. Whoever gets the most coins in the end wins.

Happy Hanukkah!


This article was posted on Wednesday, November 30th, 2005 at 11:34 pm and is filed under Games Around the World, Hanukkah, Hanukkah Songs, Holiday Songs, Holidays Around the World, I Have a Little Dreidel, Songs by Theme, The Dreidel Game. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

19 Responses to “Chanukah Song – “I Have a Little Dreidel” and The Dreidel Game”

  1. dara Says:


    Thanks for the explanation of the dreidel game. Do you have this song, the dreidel song, and other Hanukkah songs translateed into French?

  2. Monique Says:

    Here’s a literal translation

    J’ai un petit dreidel

    J’ai un petit dreidel
    Je l’ai fait en argile,
    Et quand il sera sec et prêt
    Alors au dreidel je jouerai.

    O dreidel, dreidel, dreidel
    Je l’ai fait en argile,
    Et quand il sera sec et prêt
    Alors au dreidel je jouerai.

    Il a un joli corps
    Aux jambes si courtes et minces,
    Quand mon dreidel est fatigué
    Il tombe et je gagne.


    Mon dreidel est toujours enjoué
    Il aime danser et tourner,
    Au joyeux jeu du dreidel
    Viens jouer maintenant, commençons.

  3. muse Says:

    This post is featured on Havel Havelim #51.

    Here it is. Choose your venue.

    Please put a blurb on your blog, advising your readers to visit. And send around the links for people to read it. There’s quite a variety of posts.

    Shavua tov, chodesh tov and Chanukah Sameach,

  4. jered Says:

    Do you have the dradiel song lyrics in the original Yiddish?

  5. Lisa Says:

    Sorry, I don’t have them. If anyone has the Yiddish lyrics, please add them to the comments or email me.

    Thanks! Lisa

  6. Mark Says:

    Here are two stanzas and the refrain in Yiddish of “The Dreydal Song”:


    Ikh bin a kleyner dreydl
    Gemakht bin ikh fun blay
    To lomir ale shpiln
    In dreydl eyns tsvey dray.

    Oy, dreydl, dreydl, dreydl
    Oy, drey zikh, dreydl, drey
    To lomir ale shpiln
    In dreydl eyns un tsvey.

    Un ikh hob lib tsu tantsn
    Zikh dreyen in a rod
    To lomir ale tantsn
    A dreydl-karahod.

    Oy, dreydl, dreydl, dreydl
    Oy, drey zikh, dreydl, drey
    To lomir ale shpiln
    In dreydl eyns un tsvey.

  7. Margaret Ann Pineda Says:

    Dear MamaLisa: I happened to find your wonderful website and saw your message asking for words to “Mayn Yidishe Mama” ..I found it in Yiddish and English and also searched and found and was able to listen to Neil Sedaka singing it in both languages…I loved this song the very fist time I heard it and it gave me goose bumps and tears came to my eyes without my knowing the true meaning of the words…because the first time I heard it was in Yiddish….I have been looking for the words for long time and finally found them on this website :

    This song always moves me to tears …especially after finding the meaning of the words and having researched through the internet…what Hitler and the Nazis did. I still cry for all the little innocent angels and the families that were taken and no other country would help to stop the Nazis. I would love to hear from you… I would love to share some wonderful people I have found and any information that I have also collected. I am so happy to tell you that I found Irene Gut Opdyke’s wonderful and loving Daughter, Janina and I sent her a message to let her know that I have my very own copy of her Beloved Mother’s Book entitled “In My Hands” and how much it meant to me. She was so nice to send me a message and it really was very special to hear from her. I will close now and I would also love to have you visit the website of a lovely baby laughing with his Poppa. You will love it. Everything that I send is always checked for safety and you can open them safely. This is the baby’s website..and I know once you see this little video clip…you will want to share it with someone:

    ..Enjoy and please take care.
    Sincerely, Marge Pineda from San Jose, California

  8. Lori Says:

    Hi, I am the resident authority on the dreydl song in Yiddish and English. I can supply complete lyrics and as much history as I have been able to find. I have three recordings of Yiddish songs on CDBaby and 2 different recordings of the Yiddish dreydl song, as well as lots of songs about dreydls on the brand new Chanukah is Freylekh! cd. If you need to know anything about Yiddish holiday or children’s songs, feel free to ask me.
    a freylekhn khanike alemen,

  9. Lisa Says:

    I’d love to post another Yiddish song! Right now we have the Dreydl Song and Oif’n Pripichok (In the Fireplace). If you’d like to send me another traditional Yiddish song with an English translation, that’d be great!

    A freylekhn khanike un yontev!

  10. Monique Says:

    About “Oif’n Pripichok”, would someone be nice enough to provide a literal translation of the last verse so that I could translate it into French? It’d be greatly appreciated. Thanks

  11. Gina Says:

    Are there ANY other verses of the dreidel song out there? I’m arranging it for my caroling group, and I’d like for each member of the quartet to have a verse to him or herself. I’ve only been able to find the three verses above. Which is two more than I used to know about. But my poor soprano has nothing to sing. Poor, poor soprano. I could try to make her sing in Yiddish or Hebrew, but we’re all a bunch of goyem, so that’s only bound to end in tragedy.

    Actually, her French is pretty good. But if any of the other quartets wanted to sing it, their soprano would ALSO have to know French. Or it would be as ill-fated as Yiddish or Hebrew. So English is still my top choice. any help-or just creative songwriting, for that matter-would be tremendously appreciated.


  12. Jutta Says:

    Does anyone know the song

    Dreidel spin round and round
    make your merry little whirling sound
    Hanukah …..
    Happy are the girls and boys.

    I do not know all the words and am not sure on the music. Can anyone help me, i have not been able to find the song anywhere. Thank you.

  13. Amy Says:


    Here’s the second verse:

    “One by one light each candle
    At this joyous time of year
    (I can’t remember the lyrics)
    Hanukkah brings its cheer.”

  14. bily Says:

    I am trying to learn the authentic history and copyright date and the ate that it was written of the song “I have (am) a little dreydl (dreidel)”.

    by Michael (Michel, mikhl) Gelbart (Is he related to Larry Gelbart?) Was he from Bialystok or Poznan?

    or My Dreidel by Goldfarb and Grossman

  15. Enrietta Lee Says:

    Hi: About one and a half years ago I watched a show on public TV. I believe the show is called; A Yiddish World Remembered. This is a one man show. I don’t remember his name but he sings Yiddishe songs and tells stories of his childhood to I believe a live audience. I called the station and they want $150 for the DVD and CD. Do you know of the program and wheather I can find it somewhere else for cheapper?

    Thank you,
    Enrietta Lee

  16. Gunther Rice Says:

    I’m delighted to see the original Yiddish version of the dreydl lyrics, albeit very belatedly. Tonight as we light the first light of Chanukah I would love to check my memory of the original Yiddish to the song “Oy Chanukke, oy Chanukke a yontiv a sheyner…” My memory is now somewhat unreliable. Thanks in advance.
    Gershon ben Chayim

  17. Lisa Says:

    Happy Hanukkah!

    We posted Oy, Chanukah in Yiddish last year with a YouTube video – you can click the link to see the post!


    Mama Lisa

  18. David Says:

    What a pleasurable addition to have added the words, and in multiple languages!

  19. Adriel Says:

    We sing:

    Toupie toupie toupie
    Je l’ai fait en argile
    Et quand elle sera
    Sèche et prête
    La toupie je jouerai

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