Hava Nagila

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For the Party Animals song, see Hava Naquila (song).
Instrumental performance of Hava Nagila

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Hava Nagila” (הבה נגילה Havah Nagilah, "Let us rejoice") is a Jewish traditional folk song in Hebrew, that has become a staple of band performers at Jewish weddings and Bar/Bat Mitzvahs. Roberta Grossman directed a documentarial explanation of what is Hava Naguila.[1]


The melody was taken from a folk dance-song (a variant of Hora) from Bucovina.[2] It uses the Phrygian dominant scale common in music of Romania. The commonly used text was probably composed by Abraham Zevi (Zvi) Idelsohn[3][4] in 1918 to celebrate the British victory in Palestine during World War I as well as the Balfour Declaration. Psalm 118 (verse 24) of the Hebrew Bible was the source of Hava Nagila.[citation needed]


Transliteration Hebrew text English translation
Hava nagila
הבה נגילה
Let's rejoice
Hava nagila
הבה נגילה
Let's rejoice
Hava nagila ve-nismeḥa
הבה נגילה ונשמחה
Let's rejoice and be happy
Hava neranenah הבה נרננה Let's sing
Hava neranenah הבה נרננה Let's sing
Hava neranenah ve-nismeḥa הבה נרננה ונשמחה Let's sing and be happy
Uru, uru aḥim! !עורו, עורו אחים Awake, awake, brothers!
Uru aḥim be-lev sameaḥ עורו אחים בלב שמח Awake brothers with a happy heart
  (repeat line four times)  
Uru aḥim, uru aḥim! !עורו אחים, עורו אחים Awake, brothers, awake, brothers!
Be-lev sameaḥ בלב שמח With a happy heart

Note: The “” can be pronounced as a voiceless pharyngeal fricative [ħ] (as in Classical Hebrew) or a voiceless uvular fricative [χ], as “ch” as in Bach (Modern Hebrew pronunciation).

Notable performers[edit]

Usage in sports[edit]

Association football[edit]

Ajax Amsterdam

Supporters of the Dutch association football club AFC Ajax, although not an official Jewish club, commonly use Jewish imagery. A central part of Ajax fans' culture. the song Hava Nagila can often be heard sung in the Stadium by the teams supporters, and at one point ringtones of "Hava Nagila", could even be downloaded from the club's official website.[16][17][18]

Tottenham Hotspur

Supporters of the English football club Tottenham Hotspur commonly refer to themselves as Yids, and are strongly associated with Jewish symbolism and culture. The song 'Hava Nagila' has been adopted as an anthem of sorts by the club, and is one of the most frequently sung songs at White Hart Lane.[19][20]

Olympic sports[edit]

Date Athlete Sport Event
1994 Ukraine Lilia Podkopayeva Gymnastics 1994 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships
1995-1997 Ghana Tony Yeboah Football all season long
1998-1999 Russia Evgeni Plushenko Figure skating all season long
1999-2000 Italy Maurizio Margaglio Figure skating all season long
1999-2000 Italy Barbara Fusar-Poli Figure skating all season long
2000 Russia Yekaterina Lobaznyuk Gymnastics 2000 Sydney Olympics
2000-2001 Russia Irina Lobacheva Figure skating all season long
2000-2001 Russia Ilia Averbukh Figure skating all season long
2002-2003 Russia Alina Kabaeva Rhythmic Gymnastics all season long
2004-2005 Japan Daisuke Murakami Figure skating all season long
2007-2008 China Wang Chen Figure skating all season long
2007-2008 China Yu Xiaoyang Figure skating all season long
2009-2010 Israel Roman Zaretsky Figure skating all season long
2009-2010 Israel Alexandra Zaretsky Figure skating all season long
2010 Romania Sandra Izbasa Gymnastics all season long
2011-2012 United States Aly Raisman Gymnastics 2011 CoverGirl Classic through Floor gold medal performance at 2012 London Olympics[21]
2011-2012 Israel Israeli Team Rhythmic Gymnastics all season long
2012 Israel Neta Rivkin Rhythmic Gymnastics all season long

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.havanagilamovie.com/
  2. ^ A. Idelsohn "Jewish Music: its historical development", p.12
  3. ^ Yudelson, Larry. "Who wrote Havah Nagilah?". RadioHazak. Larry Yudelson. Archived from the original on 2008-07-29. Retrieved 2007-11-08. 
  4. ^ In an appearance on BBC Radio 4 Desert Island Discs on 28 October 2007, Joel Joffe referred to his grandfather Abraham Zevi Idelsohn as the author of "Hava Nagila", but in the programme notes it says "Composer: Bashir Am Israelim", meaning that either this is an alias for Abraham Zevi Idelsohn, to whom Joffe was clearly referring in the programme, or (more plausibly) the programme notes contain a mis-transcription of "Shir Am Yisraeli", meaning "Israeli folksong".
  5. ^ http://www.seligman.org.il/joffe_AZIdelsohn.html
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Hava Nagila, What Is It? (Part I)" at YouTube[unreliable source?]
  7. ^ Leland, John. Hip: The History, HarperCollins, 2004, p. 206.
  8. ^ "Set Lists 1968 to 1976". The Highway Star. Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  9. ^ [1] Raphael sings "Hava Nagila" at Youtube
  10. ^ [2] Neo Cheezy (2007)
  11. ^ DALIDA Hava nagila 2, at Youtube
  12. ^ Neil Diamond Live In America 1994, at Youtube
  13. ^ "Hava Nagila Twist", on The Hokey Pokey:Organized Dancing (1991)
  14. ^ "Hava Nagila" by Sonata Arctica in a Tokyo concert, at Youtube
  15. ^ Dream Theater: vídeo de música judaica no show em Israel, luew, 19/06/09
  16. ^ Amsterdam Journal; A Dutch Soccer Riddle: Jewish Regalia Without Jews – New York Times, 28 March 2005
  17. ^ Hava Nagila! – Nieuw Israëlietisch Weekblad, 15 October 2013
  18. ^ 'Waar komt de geuzennaam 'Joden' toch vandaan?' – Het Parool, 1 February 2014
  19. ^ Promised Land: A Northern Love Story – Anthony Clavane, 12 February 2014
  20. ^ The Yid Army’s chants turn anti-semitism into kitsch banter – Financial Times, 20 September 2013
  21. ^ Kvelling for Aly Raisman on Salon. Retrieved 8 August 20112

External links[edit]