I Have a Little Dreidel
|Music for Holidays|
"I Have a Little Dreidel" (also known as "The Dreidel Song" or "Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel") is a children's Chanukah song in the English speaking world which also exists in a Yiddish version called "Ikh Bin A Kleyner Dreydl", (Yiddish: איך בין אַ קלײנער דרײדל Lit: I am a little dreidel). The song is about making a dreidel and playing with it.
The lyricist for the English version is Samuel S. Grossman and the composer of the English version is listed as Samuel Goldfarb (also S. E. Goldfarb). The Yiddish version was both written and composed by Mikhl Gelbart, but he listed the author as Ben Arn, a pseudonym referring to himself as the son of Aaron. There is a question about who composed this music, as the melody for both the Yiddish and the English versions are precisely the same. Mikhl Gelbart (Yiddish: : מיכל געלבאַרט) (pseudonym Ben Arn). The English version of the song is strongly associated with the festival of Chanukah. The meaning of the lyrics to the Yiddish and English versions is largely the same. However, in English the singer sings about a dreidel, whereas in Yiddish the singer is the dreidel. In the Yiddish version, the dreidel is made out of "blay" (Yiddish: בלײַ), which is lead, which is historically accurate, and in the English version it is made out of clay.
|have a little dreidel. I made it out of clay.
When it's dry and hard, 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!
|My dreidel's always playful. It loves to dance and spin.
A happy game of dreidel, come play now let's begin.
|I have a little dreidel. I made it out of clay.
When it's dry and ready, dreidel I shall play.
איך בין אַ קליינער דריידל, געמאַכט בין איך פון בלײַ.
|Ikh bin a kleyner dreydl, gemakht bin ikh fun blay.
Kumt lomir ale shpiln, in dreydl – eyns tsvey dray.
|I am a little dreidel, I am made from lead.
Come let's all play dreidel – one two three.
און איך האָב ליב צו טאַנצן, זיך דרייען אין אַ ראָד.
|Un ikh hob lib tsu tantsn, zikh dreyen in a rod
To lomir ale tantsn, a dreydl-karahod.
|And I love to dance, to spin in a circle.
So let's all dance a dreidel-circle.
- University of Pennsylvania Library: Freedman Collection of Recorded Jewish Music
- Lori Cahan-Simon Ensemble / Vessel of Song: The Music of Mikhl Gelbart
- Hanukkah music
- Passover songs
- Christmas music
- Ma'oz Tsur
- "Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics", a South Park episode which featured the song