The Hanukkah Dreidel Tradition

3 Dec

On this first Monday of Hanukkah, let’s take a moment to highlight the longstanding game of Dreidel! Whether your dreidel is handmade (maybe even out of clay?!) or you ordered a bag of them online, the game is the same and the fun is guaranteed!

custom designed Hanukkah cake boxes

Like most holidays, Hanukkah traditions draw from various cultural and religious practices that have developed over the centuries. Depending on your convictions, you can emphasize the aspects that resonate with you and your family, but the food, the candles and the games are sure to be mainstays in your celebration! So break out your dreidel and gelt, and let’s party!

This Hanukkah season, gather your friends and family to challenge them to a high stakes (or not) game of dreidel as you celebrate the Jewish festival of lights. This traditional game of chance is a longstanding part of Hanukkah celebrations and can be played by kids and adults alike. It can be played with just a couple of people or a larger group, as long as you have enough game pieces (which can be anything you have lots of—toothpicks, little candies, coins, etc.) to go around.

personalized Hanukkah matches

How to play Dreidel

1. Divide your game pieces equally among players, each with at least 10 pieces (game pieces can be anything you have lots of: toothpicks, little candies, coins, etc)

2. To start a round, everyone adds a game piece to the “pot” in the middle of your playing area.

3. To play a turn, the player spins the dreidel, and when it lands, you must act accordingly. (Shin: player adds a piece to the pot; Hey: player takes half the pot; Gimel: player takes the whole pot; Nun: Player takes nothing.)**

4. If the pot is ever empty, all players give a piece to replenish the pot.

5. If you run out of pieces, you are out, and whoever ends up with all the pieces wins!

**If your dreidel doesn’t come with the transliteration of the Hebrew letters inscribed, no worries! There are plenty of “cheat sheets” online.


This Hanukkah season, make time for what matters most—enjoying the season with your dearest ones. Gather together, cozy up and get those dreidels spinning for an evening of gaming!