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HaveALittleDreidel

A wooden dreidel.

"I Have a Little Dreidel" also known as "The Dreidel Song" (Yiddish: "Ikh Bin A Kleyner Dreydl") is one of the best known and most popular songs associated with Hanukkah. The song, which celebrates playing the traditional dreidel game, is often taught to and performed by children at public schools in North America. Its use in movies and television programs has resulted in it becoming familiar to Jews and non-Jews alike throughout the English-speaking world.

The song exists in both English and Yiddish language versions. The lyrics for both versions are sometimes attributed to Samuel S. Grossman. The tune has been attributed to both Samuel Goldfarb and Mikhi Gelbert. The song is now in the public domain.

Lyris in English

Colorful dreidels

Dreidels on sale at a market in Jerusalem in 2009.

I have a little dreidel, I made it out of clay,
When it's dry and ready, then dreidel I shall play,
Oh, dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, I made it out of clay,
Oh, dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, then dreidel I shall play.
It has a lovely body, with legs so short and thin,
When it gets all tired, it drops and then I win!
Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel with legs so short and thin.
Oh, dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, it drops and then I win!
Oh, dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, I made it out of clay,
And when it's dry and ready, then dreidel I shall play!
My dreidel's always playful It loves to dance and spin,
A happy game of dreidel, Come play now let's begin!
Oh, dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, it loves to dance and spin.
Oh, dreidel, dreidel, dreidel. Come play now let's begin!
I have a little dreidel, I made it out of clay,
When it's dry and ready, then dreidel I shall play,
Oh, dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, I made it out of clay,
Oh, dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, then dreidel I shall play!

Lyrics in Yiddish

Brockhaus and Efron Jewish Encyclopedia e8 019-0

Illustration of a dreidel from the 1913 Brockhaus and Efron Jewish Encyclopedia.

The Yiddish language lyrics differ slightly from those of the English version. In Yiddish, the song begins "Ikh bin a kleyner dreydl", (meaning "I am a little dreidel"), and the rest of the song is sung from the dreidel's perspective. The Yiddish version also says that the dreidel is made out of "blay", meaning "lead", rather than "clay" as in the English version of the song.

The following are the Yiddish lyrics to the song, transliterated into the Roman alphabet.

Ikh bin a kleyner dreydl, germakt bin ikh fun blay,
Kumt lomir aleh shpilen, in dreydl eyns tsvey drey,
Oy dreydl, dreydl, dreydl, Oy drey zikh dreyal drey,
To lomir aleh shpilen in dreydl eyns un tsvey.
Un ikh hab lib tsu tantsin, zikh dreyen in a rod,
To lomir ale tantsu, a dreyal-karahod,
Oy dreydl, dreydl, dreydl, oy drey zikh dreyal drey,
To lomir ale shpilen, in dreydl eyns un tsvey.

See also

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