How Do You Spell Chanukah?

hanukkah, chanukah

Hanukkah has commenced. So has Chanukah, Hannukah, Hannukkah, and Channukah.

Confused? We don’t blame you. Why is this Jewish holiday, also known as the Festival of Lights, spelled in so many ways?

The answer comes down to transliteration. Unlike translation, transliteration is when you “change (letters, words, etc.) into corresponding characters of another alphabet or language.” In Hebrew, the language from which the Jewish festival originates, the word for Hanukkah is not easily transliterated into English. This accounts for why there are so many spelling variants. But Hanukkah and Chanukah are the two versions that are most widely used and accepted.

Hanukkah lasts for eight days. It commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. Scholars disagree about how to interpret the Hebrew word for Hanukkah. But one common interpretation is that it means “dedication.”

On each night of the holiday, a different branch of  a candelabrum called a menorah is illuminated. The festival is also celebrated by indulging in latkes, or fried potato pancakes. Children play a game involving a type of wooden or plastic top called a dreidel.

A word common to Judaism, Christianity and Islam is “amen.” What does this simple and common word actually mean? Find out here.

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  1. julie -  December 8, 2015 - 8:29 am

    its deffinatley hanukkah

    • Bri-cheese! -  December 8, 2015 - 4:23 pm

      You know that Chanukah is spelled many different ways. You can spell it with
      a x!

      • Bri-cheese! -  December 8, 2015 - 4:26 pm

        My friend is Jewish he told me so I know! : ‘ )

        • unknown -  December 9, 2015 - 4:57 pm

          I’m jewish and i spell it with the ch

      • robero -  December 10, 2015 - 5:36 am

        or j…

    • Lol -  December 9, 2015 - 5:09 am

      It’s actually spelt chicken

      • Maria -  December 9, 2015 - 10:05 am

        no its not

      • Bri-cheese! -  January 5, 2016 - 4:03 pm


    • aaron hall -  December 9, 2015 - 5:24 am

      I think it is hannukah.

      • aaron hall -  December 9, 2015 - 5:25 am

        Jesus is awesome.

        • Lisa -  December 19, 2015 - 3:22 pm

          What the hell?

    • jessica johnson -  December 9, 2015 - 8:00 am

      I agree.

  2. John -  December 7, 2015 - 5:01 pm


    • Yo yo Yo -  December 7, 2015 - 5:02 pm

      Oh… Yeah

    • Lol -  December 9, 2015 - 5:10 am

      I don’t

  3. lil'$$$$$$$$$$$ -  December 7, 2015 - 11:19 am

    hey meco

    • Lol -  December 9, 2015 - 5:10 am

      Bye bye my friend

  4. allen f -  December 7, 2015 - 11:07 am

    i know this for sure jesus saves and we need to disband this holiday in america


    • Melly -  December 8, 2015 - 1:34 pm

      Why do we need to disband this holiday? Jesus celebrated it. And it’s about celebrating the ‘Light of the World’ and being lights to the world. Why do you think that?

    • Lol -  December 9, 2015 - 5:11 am

      Lots of peole do

      • Melly -  December 9, 2015 - 3:32 pm

        Lots of people do what?

    • unknown -  December 9, 2015 - 5:00 pm

      I’m jewish and i take much offense to the comment you made what if i said we should ban christmas or is that to offensive think before you say anything i love all religions and all holidays but you should seriously say sorry i take great offense to your comment

  5. Josh F. -  December 7, 2015 - 9:22 am

    A lot of the comments below are incorrect or incomplete, sometimes badly so. Many of them come from Christians or “Messianic Jews” who call themselves Jews but are actually Christ-worshipers, and who have bastardized much Jewish history and culture over the years.

    Here’s some basic information from an actual Jew:

    The Dictionary.com article itself is largely correct, in that the word can be transliterated into English a number of different ways.

    I spell it “Channukkah myself,” with a C in front, two Ns, and two Ks. That’s a highly unusual spelling, but I’ll share my logic:

    The CH at the front represents the guttural letter chet, which makes a sound like the end of the exclamation “Blecch!” (The sound you make when you don’t like something.) In practice, you don’t dwell on this guttural sound, so it comes out sounding like a rush of air, like a hiss. It’s like making that letter H last for just a split second longer than you would do with an ordinary word that starts with H.

    The two Ns are because English spelling conventions usually use double letters in these instances, like “beginnings” and “innovation.” (It also applies to letters other than N, such as in “commitment” and “latter.”)

    The two Ks are to give information about the fact that the last syllable has stress on it. The “kkah” at the end of the word doesn’t rhyme with “uh”; it rhymes with “pa” (as in ma and pa, your parents).

    The H at the end of the word isn’t necessary in English, but it is necessary in Hebrew, so translators tend to include it.

    Next, the word “Channukkah” (however you spell it) itself literally means “dedication.” It refers to the dedication of the Second Temple (which still partly survives today in the Western Wall in Israel).

    There is some “hidden” meaning to the word, in that ancient Hebrew was greatly concerned about the numeric value of letters and the encoding of extra meaning this way, as well as the power to similarly encode extra meaning into acronyms. Someone mentioned that the “kkah” in Channukkah means “25.” This is partly correct. It doesn’t literally mean 25, but the numeric value of the letters caf and hay represents the number 25, which is the day of the month on the Jewish calendar that Channukkah begins.

    There’s possibly even more hidden meaning, involving an acronym based on some of the letters in the word “Channukkah,” but the more elaborate one gets down this road, the greater risk there is of perceiving meaning where none was originally intended.

    On Channukkah it is traditional to eat oily foods to commemorate the miracle of the oil lasting eight days. These foods commonly include potato pancakes, jelly doughnuts, and sour cream, but any fat-rich foods will suffice. (Incidentally, sour cream goes really well on potato pancakes.)

    The “menorah” that everyone associates with Channukkah is more accurately called a “channukkiah”; it is distinguished from a traditional menorah in that it has nine sticks as opposed to a menorah’s seven. But if you call it a menorah anyway, no one’s going to come and punish you. =]

    Lastly, there may be some confusion about the words associated with Channukkah. This is because Jewish tradition draws upon two languages: Yiddish (which is very similar to German but retains the Hebrew alphabet) and Hebrew itself (which had declined to become a language only used by religious scholars until Israel made it its national language). For instance, a “dreidl” in Yiddish is the same as a “sevivon” in Hebrew. Likewise, a “kippah” and a “ya(r)mulke” are also the same thing.

    Now straying into the realm of opinion, I think the best thing a person can do to honor this holiday is to sit and watch the candles burn down with friends and loved ones. They’re small candles and take about an hour. Put hate out of your heart at this time, and just enjoy the candlelight, and send good wishes for all those who want for a safe home, food to eat, and their basic human dignities. I know that in my thoughts this year are the thousands of refugees fleeing across Europe from war and religious oppression. They have lost almost everything…their possessions, their careers, their security. Most of them are Muslim and have been targeted by right-wing politicians in Europe and the United States as scapegoats for terrorism…much as Jews have always been. These people deserve our compassion and our help, not our fear and our hatred. Please remember that during this holiday season, whatever your persuasion may be.

    • p j -  December 8, 2015 - 4:16 pm

      wow. this was really helpful for my essay! thanks!

    • julia -  December 8, 2015 - 4:36 pm

      Thanks for your thorough explanation.

    • Lol -  December 9, 2015 - 5:12 am

      You just wasted 5 minutes of my life

    • Maria -  December 9, 2015 - 10:14 am

      That is the most interesting thing that I had ever read (partly because I am part Jewish).

    • Mark Van Wagoner -  December 10, 2015 - 10:22 am

      Josh, I thoroughly enjoyed your essay on the historical and spiritual significance of Channukkah. I have studied Hebrew and ancient and modern Israel and am grateful for the “light that never goes out”. We also would not have a Bible if it were not for the dedication of ancient Prophets.
      The world NEEDS Israel, especially today. I can barely understand the hatred spewed toward a people and country whose only “sin” is wanting to worship and live in peace..something they have not enjoyed since David and Solomon.
      Despite the lies in the press, the constant harassment and more…Israel continues to stand as a beacon of light, shining for all oppressed people, no matter their religion. Happy Channukkah!

    • Bri-cheese! -  January 5, 2016 - 4:06 pm

      I need to read this again it’s good for my project.

    • James C. -  January 6, 2016 - 3:14 pm

      Hi Josh. I would love to get in contact with you personally concerning information, that is very valuable in my opinion.
      I’m a Christian.
      Let me just make my motives clear, I’m learning and have a lot of questions concerning Judaism and it’s roots, origins, etc…

  6. Mima P -  December 5, 2015 - 12:51 pm

    Oh, so it did post the first time! haha :D

    • Lol -  December 9, 2015 - 5:11 am

      I don’t understand why you are laughing

  7. Mima P -  December 5, 2015 - 12:51 pm

    I appreciate knowing the reason for the Biblical holidays. I am Christian but could not be so without having been led to Yeshua from Jewish roots. Thank you for sharing about this Chanukah. Much love to you all!

    • Melly -  December 8, 2015 - 1:40 pm

      Well, actually, Hanukkah is not a Biblical holiday, it is not commanded. But it’s a wonderful tradition celebrating a truly miraculous event and the light of the world (Yeshua), all though it took place before he entered the world. But He celebrated it, so I think we should too! :)

      • Maria -  December 9, 2015 - 10:16 am

        I somewhat agree with you.

    • Lol -  December 9, 2015 - 5:13 am

      I don’t love you

  8. Mima P -  December 5, 2015 - 12:48 pm

    I appreciate knowing about the Jewish holidays. I am a Christian, but I could not be so without having my Jewish roots :) Much love to you! Thanks for sharing

  9. Meew -  December 4, 2015 - 7:12 am

    …Here in my garage…

  10. Hanukkah: 7 surprising things everyone should know -  December 16, 2014 - 8:33 am

    […] starting with H-. But said team’s members argue that Chanukah is correct, because it’s the “traditional” spelling, while others assert Hanukkah is the correct “American” spelling. They are both […]

  11. Semalea -  December 2, 2013 - 2:34 pm

    I was born and brought up in Manchester,England 78 years ago and in all the years that I lived there, I never once saw Chanukah written in any other way than this. All the Chanukah cards and articles in the Jewish Gazette had the word written as I have done and does to this dayand it is only now am I seeing other spellings. In my opinion it is the American influence that has brought about the differences.
    As for the candlestick that is used for Chanukah the correct name for it is Menorah. It has holders for Eight Candles plus one more which is either at the front of the Menorah or at the end of the row but higher (as you can see in the illustration) and that is for the Shamus or Keeper. It is used to light the other eight. I would like to correct Michael who wrote that the oil lasted seven days, in fact the oil lasted Eight Days and that is why there are places for Eight Candles.
    The lamp that burns before the Ark never goes out, as a sign that G-d is with us. When the Philistines razed the Temple, the lamp continued to burn even when there was no oil. A messenger was sent to obtain more oil and it took eight days for him to return. Hope this helps. . Semalea

    • Ginny Weasley -  December 4, 2015 - 4:23 am

      I have always heard Hanukkah, but I’ve seen Chanukah on occasion.

      By the way, you don’t need to say G-d. It’s spelled God.

    • Mike -  December 8, 2015 - 8:05 am

      Actually, a menorah has only 7 branches. The type of menorah used on Chanukah with 9 branches is called a Chanukia. And the reason why the spelling is often done with an H is that hanukah (pronounced with a soft H) is closer to the true Hebrew pronunciation of the work thah CHanuka (pronounced with a CH sound like in cheese). The is no ‘ח’ (chet) sound in the english language or alphabet.

    • Melly -  December 8, 2015 - 1:43 pm

      Actually a ‘Menorah has seven branches, representing the seven days in a week, etc. That is what was in the Temple. The Chanukiah is the correct title for the candlestick we use during Chanukah, the one with nine branches, celebrateing the eight days that the oil amount for one day burned for.

      • Melly -  December 8, 2015 - 1:44 pm

        Oh, sorry ‘Mike’ I didn’t see your comment and was correcting Samelea, not you. You’re correct.

    • Maria -  December 9, 2015 - 10:20 am

      Don’t be afraid to say God, it is your first amendment: freedoms of speech and religion.

  12. Bernice -  December 2, 2013 - 1:38 pm

    I prefer the word Chrismaramahanukwanzikah.

  13. Kim -  December 2, 2013 - 9:16 am

    I take issue with the following sentence: “Unlike translation, transliteration is when you ‘change (letters, words, etc.) into corresponding characters of another alphabet or language.’ ” This sentence is grammatically incorrect. A website dedicated to the English language should not include a sentence that uses an adverbial clause (“when you change…”) with a linking verb (“is”). The linking verb “is” should be followed by a noun that renames the subject or by an adjective that describes it. This sentence should be written as follows: “transliteration is ‘chang[ing] (letters, words, etc.) into corresponding characters of another alphabet or language.’ ”

  14. Michael -  December 1, 2013 - 7:55 am

    The ‘candelabrum’ is actually called a Channukiah. The Menorah was a seven branched candelabrum, lit in the times of the Mishkan and the Beis Hamikdosh (temple). The Channukiah has 8 branches as the oil lasted 7 days. And it is also traditional to eat doughnuts, and cheese, from the story of Yehudis.

  15. Hana -  December 1, 2013 - 3:25 am

    Sorry ‘Kimba’ its not “chanucha”, in Hebrew its written חנוכה. Though there is no English equivalent to the first letter of the word, there is a English equivalent to the Hebrew letter kaf, Kimba mistook it for the letter haf (or chaf) which is a common mistake for beginners in the Hebrew language. Basically because there is no English equivalent you can spell the word in many different ways, including: Chanukah, Hannukah, Hannukkah, and Channukah but “chanucha” is not one of them, take it from an Israeli. By the way Kimba the Hebrew calender is not purely lunar, that would be the Muslim calender, the Hebrew calender includes a solar leap year to move the year back into the correct seasons.

  16. Scott -  November 28, 2013 - 8:22 am

    The correct spelling is Chanukah. It should begin with CH and not H because in Hebrew it is spelled with the letter Chet (which makes a hard, guteral sound), not the letter Hay which is just like the English H.

    • Aki -  December 7, 2015 - 3:56 pm

      I was going to comment that very same point: it’s hard to transliterate because of the Chet used with the word.

  17. Alan -  November 27, 2013 - 9:46 pm

    That is about the silliest and most poorly written thing I have read. The transliteration of the name of the holiday is Chanukah. The “Ch” is meant to represent the guteral ch (, as in Yuch”). Chanukah in Hebrew means they fought on the 25th. (Chanoo means they fought. Kah means the 25th.) The custom is to eat fried foods. Potato pancakes or the Yiddish, latkes, is the traditional food of the holiday amongst those of European descent. Soofganeeyot, a Hebrew word for fried jelly donuts, which is traditional in Israel.

  18. Joy -  November 27, 2013 - 7:36 pm

    Very intersting

    • tye -  December 6, 2015 - 9:08 pm

      i concur with the lifeform

  19. Kimba -  November 27, 2013 - 5:35 pm

    “Chanuchah” is the way I would transliterate it, having taken many Hebrew classes and being Messianic myself. And @ Fred – It depends on what calendar you go by to decide when it starts. I go by the moon. And, finally, Chanuchah is the festival of lights as well, so I suppose you could say it means “Lights.”

    • Aki -  December 7, 2015 - 3:57 pm

      Umm… I wouldn’t try that in Israel, if I were you. Your transliteration is quite poor.

  20. Melissa -  November 27, 2013 - 12:50 pm

    The article didn’t state it has “just begun” it states it begins this week.

  21. Moishe -  November 27, 2013 - 11:37 am


  22. Gary C. -  November 27, 2013 - 7:57 am

    Another point. The custom is to eat foods cooked in oil, so Ashkenazim (Jews from eastern Europe) eat latkes, but Sefaradim (Jews from Iberia) eat sufganiot, jelly donuts. However, today we both share each other’s customs.

  23. Fred -  November 26, 2013 - 9:37 am

    Interesting post but a point of information.

    Chanukkah “has NOT just begun.” It begins on November 27th at sundown.

  24. wolf tamer and tree puncher -  November 26, 2013 - 5:27 am

    And people are trying to combine this with Thanksgiving? Talk about pluralistic. The two holidays are nothing alike.

    Thanks for the information, Dictionary.com. But you should have picked a different title. As soon as we see the title, we know how to spell Chanukah.

    I’ve usually heard it called “Hanukkah.” Nice info, though.

  25. Wit -  July 20, 2013 - 1:43 am

    Adoration is my word.

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  28. Steve -  February 13, 2012 - 6:03 am

    The correct spelling seems to be “חֲנֻכָּה”. Like Arabic, Hebrew has many ways of transliterating words (converting to another alphabet).

  29. Dee -  December 23, 2011 - 9:59 pm

    @ Mike

    Thank you Mike for your brilliant explanation and for clarifying the correct word in Hebrew and the reason for the different spellings.

    @ Kimberly

    I am most impressed by you, Kimberly, because you are blessed with the knowledge of so many languages at such a young age. I pray that this gift is put to great uses and that many are blessed by it.

  30. DJ -  December 21, 2011 - 4:50 pm

    What do you call someone who knows 3 languages?


    What do you call someone who knows 2 languages?


    What do you call someone who knows 1 language?

    An American.

    • Aki -  December 7, 2015 - 4:25 pm

      And what do you call the Americans who speak more that one language?

      My guess? Educated.

  31. George Vreeland Hill -  December 12, 2011 - 4:29 pm

    I have always spelled it Hanukkah.
    That is how most Americans spell it.

    George Vreeland Hill

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  34. Hannah :) -  February 19, 2011 - 4:08 am

    Mike – Very informative. I’m having a go at pronouncing “Chanukka” as you said to. I’m sounding like a total idiot, but I think I’m getting there :)

  35. Cheri Moya -  February 14, 2011 - 8:50 pm

    To many people:
    Just because you’re a Jew, it doesn’t mean you’re right. And don’t call me racist because I am a Jew.
    Anyways, the candelabra is called a Hanukkia because Menorah means light in Hebrew, so it isn’t Menorah.
    @Curly: Read the above.
    Plus, Chanukkah is more about the meaning that Christmas is now, so don’t go there.
    Yes, I read all the comments.

    • Aki -  December 7, 2015 - 4:00 pm

      The Menorah or candelabra as you want to call it means lamp, not light. Grab yourself a Hebrew to English dictionary and look it up; it means lamp. And it’s not called a hanukkia, it’s called a menorah or lamp because that’s what it is and has been since ancient times. It’s one of those words that never changed from Biblical Hebrew to Modern Hebrew.

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  43. Curly -  December 11, 2010 - 4:49 pm

    @Daniel Rosenberg:

    I’ve actually researched this, and I would say it is the other way around. Menora is the real Hebrew word for a candelabra; chanukia is simply a back-formation of Chanukah.


    Are rules for transliteration that strict? The Hebrew language does not use our alphabet – therefore, there is no right or wrong for transliteration. For instance, the “ch” sound in “loch” is generally shown as “kh” in dictionaries, but no one is saying you have to spell Chanukah “Khanukah”. I do believe that it is probably more accurate to spell it Chanukah rather than Hanukah, but that is only because it makes a difference in the pronunciation. But it’s up to the person trying to transliterate a word whether to spell it with an H at the end or not, since this does not change the way the word is pronounced.

    • Aki -  December 7, 2015 - 4:03 pm

      The letter chet is usually transliterated as hard gutteral ‘ch’ not a ‘kh.’ That’s why you’ll see Chanukah usually spelled with a ‘ch.’ And menorah means lamp, not candelabra.

  44. Parch -  December 10, 2010 - 6:27 am

    I thoguht this post was one of the more informative posts that have been featured in a while. This is mostly due to the fact the the word is used so often around this time of year.

    Some of you are really upset over this whole thing for soem odd reason? You’re coming across as antisemitic.

  45. Mike -  December 10, 2010 - 5:29 am

    And, the potatoes, they are latkas, from the Yiddish word לאטקעס. Gut stuff! =)

  46. lingUist geeK-sage(RP) -  December 7, 2010 - 9:57 am

    This is nonsense to say the least.. Next time please have a better Blog feature, does really spelling matter!?

    • David -  December 7, 2015 - 10:30 pm

      I agrea, it is udder nunsence to sey thuh leest. Cleerly speleeng rillee duz knot madder!

  47. ariel -  December 6, 2010 - 3:02 pm

    actually there is no correct way to spell it in english. there are millions of ways to spell it in english. I usually spell it Chanukah, but common ways are Hannukah, Channukah, Hanukah, etc. The only wat to correctly spell it is in hebrew which is חנוכה
    So there is no correct way to spell it.

  48. malkiyel -  December 5, 2010 - 9:04 pm

    hi dennis,

    Thnks for the info, so its yessiah.. i think its better to use that in my prayers,, just kidding!.. well its genuine!

  49. Ariel Biegel -  December 5, 2010 - 12:32 pm

    i love how everyone got so hyped up over the spelling of a holiday. wow and people wonder why we can’t have world peace…

    • Aki -  December 7, 2015 - 4:04 pm

      didn’t you know that the word ‘war’ is an acronym?

  50. There'snogoodnamsanymore -  December 4, 2010 - 8:30 am

    Does anyone have the audacity to come all the way down here and read the comments all the way at the bottom? If you do, here’s a word for the wise: Go back up, the comments get worse down here.

  51. Wrasfish -  December 4, 2010 - 6:18 am

    Actually, Americans make a greater effort than Brits do, when it comes to pronouncing a foreign word in the foreign manner. Consider the French word “garage.” People aren’t morons if they become confused by a spelling such as Chanukkah, but I don’t think Ariel meant to insult; she just overstated her point.
    Okay, all you morons: How do you pronounce Kathmandu? Khaki? Gyro (the item you find in Greek restaurants)? Ahmedabad, the city in India, and Ahmedabad, the city in Pakistan? Safed?

  52. kimberly -  December 3, 2010 - 8:53 pm

    Nissen is right im Jewish as well but so is everyone else here so its quite obvious isn’t it?

  53. Dennis -  December 3, 2010 - 4:01 pm


    My level of understanding believes Jesus Christ is the Greek name of the Hebrew version of Yessiah Messiah.

    Happy Hannuka and Merry “Christ-Messiah”mas to all !
    Peace and blessings.

  54. Miranda -  December 3, 2010 - 3:45 pm

    Ariel- since my last name is very German I suppose if you mispronounce it you’re a moron? I always thought the way to spell it was with 1 n and 2 ks.

  55. blahblahblah -  December 3, 2010 - 1:39 pm

    im bored…mmmm latkas(<<did i spell that right?idk<<)…ive actually never had a latka………………im not jewish either,but i wanna play the dreidel(idk how to spell that either)game&win CHOCOLATE&stuff… mmmm i want chocolate n0w…

  56. thrid aye -  December 3, 2010 - 11:05 am

    well things do modernize…i mean we use candles instead of oil lamps so i guess thats why dreidels are plastic and wood now…in Israel they do still though…did you know they didnt just change the spelling of name of the holiday but also on the dreidels “shin” substitutes “peh” for the hebrew word for there instead of the hebrew word for here…snice you cant really say a miracle happened here when it happened in there…and now its all about gifts instead of the miracle…

  57. kimberly -  December 3, 2010 - 11:03 am

    Paula great idea if she does come tell me

  58. kimberly -  December 3, 2010 - 10:55 am

    George-i speak Aramaic too

  59. FYI -  December 3, 2010 - 10:51 am

    nobody cares anymor…we dont even spell correct wen we txt…prounce 1/2 of wat i jus wrote….

  60. third aye -  December 3, 2010 - 10:48 am

    it all depends on the region… Ashkenazi jews spell it ‘ch’ and the majority of american jews are of Ashkenazi descent hence thats the more popular way over here… Ashkenazi’s also eat lahkes because of they are influnced by their immigrant homes then their Sephardic counterparts…as for the morons…in a diverse country like the U.S people shuold take the time to learn about other cultures…Especially snice english is composed of multiple languages…

  61. thrid aye -  December 3, 2010 - 10:22 am

    i know alot of people who get angry at immigrants who dont learn english properly if they have been more then a yr…with all the polite people on here you’d think that the world would be alot nicer place…

  62. Rich Durst -  December 3, 2010 - 10:16 am


    I don’t know for sure when the latkes became part of the Chanukkah tradition, but dictionary.com places the origin of the word between 1925 and 1930 AD. According to what I know of Jewish tradition, oil-fried foods are eaten during the eight days of Chanukkah in remembrance of the sacred oil that burned for eight days during the rededication of the temple. So, before potato pancakes they probably ate some other sort of fried food to help commemorate the event.

    Also, I find it curious that it mentions the “wooden or plastic top” called a dreidel. Does nobody make them out of clay anymore, in spite of the song?

  63. thrid aye -  December 3, 2010 - 9:55 am

    it all really depends on the region….jews in america spell it with “ch” cause their are of eastern european descent…and snice alot more of those reside in the U.S thats the more popular form of spelling here….sephardic jews of course spell it correctly snice they havent been influnced as heavily by the countries they immagarted to…e.g ashkenazi jews eat lahkes while sephardi jews dont…so technically it was a new world food for us too:)…as for people being morons…i’d hope in a diverse country like the u.s people would learn more about other cultures…and not be so dense in understanding…Especially because english is derived from multiple languages itself….

  64. tony -  December 3, 2010 - 9:14 am


  65. David E. -  December 3, 2010 - 9:13 am

    @daniel arias:

    You devil, you copied my post verbatim. I have some choice words for folks like you, but I’ll refrain from using them.

  66. daniel arias -  December 3, 2010 - 8:56 am

    The letter is officially translated into English as ḥ.

    Among Sephardi speakers, and among Arabs, this letter is pronounced as a very “throaty” h, as in the Arab/Muslim ‘Muhammad’. This letter is known as ‘ḥet’ among Sephardic (Spanish, Italian, Greek, Middle Eastern, and North African descent) Jews. Hence the spelling of Hanukkah/Hannukah.

    Among Ashkenazi Jews, this letter is pronounced as ch as spoken in German, such as the word ‘Reich’ in German or ‘loch’ in Scottish Irish. The letter is known as ‘ches’ (the letter th is pronounced \t\ by Sephardim and \s\ by Ashkenazim) among Ashkenazic (Eastern European, e.g., Russian, German, Polish descent) Jews. Hence the spelling of Chanukah.

    Did I clear things up?

  67. Laura -  December 3, 2010 - 8:32 am

    Can we all just accept that Hanukah/Hannuka/Hanukkah/Chanukkah/Chanukka/Hannukkah/Channukah/etc. can be spelled many different ways, and that mis-pronunciation is not the highest sin?

    • Aki -  December 7, 2015 - 4:05 pm

      Yes. Agree to disagree. ^_^

  68. ralph -  December 3, 2010 - 8:30 am

    It mentions potato pancakes

    potatoes were a new world food.

    When did Jews begin to eat them??

  69. Mike D -  December 3, 2010 - 8:04 am

    In hebrew the ‘H’ is pronounced like ‘CH’. Therefore in some books the word ‘header’ appears as ‘cheader’ (the elementry schools Jewish boys went to in Eastern European Shetels) and Hannukah is also spelled as Channukah. (this is a place to learn, not make derogratory remarks about others)

  70. Weezie -  December 3, 2010 - 7:29 am

    I am willing to BET that the majority of Jews spell Chanukah with CH. In fact, for me, a good way of telling whether someone is NOT Jewish (and/or shikker), is to see if they spell it with an H. I grew up in a very large Jewish district in Los Angeles, where you never saw the H spelling, whatsoever. That was 50 years ago, so you might say tradition has changed, but I don’t believe that is true one iota. If you spell Chanukah with an H, you are most likely not of the old Jewish nation or faith.

    My 3 cents. Happy holidays to EVERYONE!


  71. pby5dumbo -  December 3, 2010 - 6:49 am

    Congrats to Mike, who posted the only real phonological explanation in this string. Amateurs need to realize that when we render an H in a Hebrew (or other Middle Eastern) spelling, it sometimes needs to be seen as a CH, as in German: what linguists call a glottal stop. No Western European language has words that start with glottal stops, but Middle Eastern languages do.

    Foreign names usually get standardized. Users would do well to follow a style guide and be consistent.

    Worst case ever in published English of deliberate multiple spellings of Middle Eastern names: T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia) in Seven Pillars of Wisdom.

  72. matthew -  December 3, 2010 - 6:32 am

    does it really matter as long as u pronounce it right.

  73. David -  December 3, 2010 - 5:47 am

    Did you know there are variations of spelling in English words across the various countries that have English as their official language? No surprise there…

    @ Rupert – Dude – love ya man!

    In some African (or was it South American) languages they use clicks of the tounge and other sounds not in English as part of their words – crazy cool.

    I think most people think a speaker with an accent (that is, one who injects the sounds of his own native language into the new one) sound kind of humorous – being polite we don’t like to laugh openly – but put that voice into a movie as comedy relief, and it sure to get a laugh – take your pick – Spanish, German, Scottish, Russian, even Southern, British or Aussie English sounds funny to an American – I’m sure American accents are just as funny in Australia.

    So… even though we can make sounds from other languages, we think we sound funny when we do, so we don’t – even if it would be most correct. Take it from me the son of a German immigrant, I can zound fary German if I vant to, and if I hat a better kommand of ze vocapulary, I could get ze accent down pretty vell… but then I feel like I’m making fun of my dad! :-)

  74. Michelle Giesey -  December 3, 2010 - 5:39 am

    Happy Hanukkah/Hannukah/Chanukah to those who celebrate!

  75. Roslyn Meyers -  December 3, 2010 - 5:22 am

    We have always delighted in the story of Channukkah.We have cooked thousands of Latkes for friends. We have been to many Churches and explaned Hannukah to many Christian friends. I recently explained the story to my English class. Got a passing grade for doing so. Along with my extensive wrting; they were in awwwwwwe about the history of Chanukah.

  76. Dwight -  December 3, 2010 - 3:58 am

    It’s possible that both Mickey Rose and Ariel Biegel are possessed of a sense of humor. On the other hand, they might be humoristically challenged. It’s difficult to tell without examining them: accelerated humor causes even a moron to smile; while retarded humor causes even an imbecile to laugh. Doodie, what say you?

  77. Cyberquill -  December 3, 2010 - 2:52 am

    It’s the same problem with Koran vs. Qur’an.

  78. malkiyel -  December 3, 2010 - 2:05 am

    And i wonder if the name jesus” is a hebrew word??
    since the letter J is a english alphabhet.. so whats jesus in hebrew?

    • Dret -  December 8, 2015 - 7:27 pm

      The English name “Jesus” comes from the Latin “Iesus” (pronounced ya-sus), which came from the Greek “Iesous.” This in turn comes from the Aramaic “Yeshu’a”, which is a contracted form of the Hebrew “Yehoshu’a”(Joshua). This means “YHWH is salvation”. So, yes, “Jesus” does come from Hebrew.

      On a related note, this is a prime example of why this whole arguement is a little silly. There are listed above 5 different ways to spell the same name, with different pronunciations, all correct in different languages.

  79. malkiyel -  December 3, 2010 - 2:02 am

    my name is actually a hebrew word,, but i dont know what exactly it means..

  80. ANNA -  December 2, 2010 - 11:42 pm

    Words have different spelling, depends on the country. Example :

    French – Thérèse
    Romanian – Tereza
    Spanish – Teresita
    Swedish – Therese

    Same as Hanukkah. Spelling depends on the country. Especially when the word is long and hard to say or translate.

  81. steven -  December 2, 2010 - 11:26 pm

    @ george, awesome way to bring some peace to it. If only we could all be so slight in ego and understanding we might all learn something about each other and our respective cultures.

  82. Tuberose -  December 2, 2010 - 10:37 pm

    I’ve been a fan of the Hebrew language and I learned so much today. Happy Chanukka everyone! ☺☻☺

  83. Chewy -  December 2, 2010 - 8:43 pm

    LMAO @ Willie Goldburg. Dude, you can’t spell to save your life. “Speeling” “Egyptions” “Palastine”…wtf? I don’t think I’ll be trusting your spelling of Hanukkah either.

  84. Church_goer -  December 2, 2010 - 8:34 pm

    actually ashley, Amen means this is true

  85. Katie -  December 2, 2010 - 8:24 pm

    These spellings are only used in America. Chanukkah is used by Orthodox Jews, Hanukkah is used by Conservative Jews, and Hannukah is used by reform Jews. Just in case you were wondering.

  86. fake name -  December 2, 2010 - 7:58 pm

    this is dumb cause its spelled with 8 letters on purpose and one of these has 9

  87. Bryan H. Allen -  December 2, 2010 - 7:56 pm

    I hasten to add that I misspelled my own name, “correctrly” instead of correctly and ħɑˑnukːɑ instead of ħɑˑnuˈkːɑ.

    Although Mike’s facts are correct, I disagree that the ultimate “h” generally should not be transcribed. Where it is the non-construct feminine ending, it should be transcribed. Both “Torah” and “Hanukkah” have that feminine ending (Toráth- where it is in construct with the next noun). This is particularly important as, in Hebrew, the feminine ending is normally the accented syllable (though both pronunciations Tórah and Toráh can be heard). As Moshe מושה is a masculine name, it is little useful to transcribe the terminal he.

  88. Nissen -  December 2, 2010 - 7:42 pm

    No, it’s spelled Chanukah not hanukkah or hannukkah.The only reason why some people spell and say hanukkah instead of Chanuah is because,Amaerican’s and/or people who speaks English,can’t say the kh/ch that’s why people pronounce hanukkah instead of Chanukah.

    I am also a jew and I Know What im talking about.

  89. Audrey -  December 2, 2010 - 7:20 pm

    @Ruby Juarez

    Hannukah and Christmas are not very similar at all, they celebrate completely different things. Just because they are both celebrated in December and are both associated with gift giving does not make Hannukah the Jewish counterpart to Christmas. If it was celebrated in, say, February, no one would say that because they are very different holidays.

  90. renovatedJew -  December 2, 2010 - 6:50 pm

    It’s the ignorant like Ariel Biegel and his bigoted opinions that keep our society languishing in outdated and erroneous views that people have about other types of people. Rest assured all mainstream Jews like myself do not share his opinion. Ofcourse a person is not ignorant and definitely not a ‘moron’ just because he can’t pronounce a word in a different language. All people really love each other deep inside, and we can all easily shed all the suspicion, erroneous views, and aspersions about others that have built up within our respective cultures. So this year let us all really use the opportunities for growth and harmony afforded by this great country, and just love all human beings equally. I believe everyone really wants to do that, but no one wants to take the fist step, it just takes one motivated person to say it out loud in a public forum, and that’s what I am doing right now.

    And about Biegel, don’t let what he said bother you, he’s just a first class ‘Meshugenah’ (or however you spell it).

    Happy Christmas, Chanukah, and any other holiday being celebrated at this time of year in the greatest country in the world!

    God Bless America.

    New York City

  91. Mr. Raymond Kenneth Petry -  December 2, 2010 - 6:19 pm

    In the protolinguistics of the archaic Egyptian-Sumerian-Hebrew Jehovahns, they had more than one definite article–

    H, was the definite article, e.g. Biblical H’Adam, was ‘the man’ (distinct from Adam by name);

    K, was the definitive article, e.g. Khonshu of Egypt, was Kh’An-Shw THE LORD Shw, (what he did was to-be the lord, so that’s definitive not just definite).

    Many words in the Bible have the definite or definitive prefix, that we don’t see in the English–

    Ch’Eve, we call, Eve, but she was ‘The Mother’;
    Schnook, we call, Enoch, (in some places, Hanoch H’Enoch The Enoch, the Lord).

    Alot of the recognition of the protolinguistics seems lost to us because so much of the meaning is assumptive –what little mankind cared to know– replacing the fuller original meaning … Plus much of the difference language we receive is only the consonantal ‘bare bones’ of words that were much richer in their unwritten-spoken voweling….

    For example a word we see in a lot of languages, is–

    Shekinah, in the original Sumerian, Upsukinnaku (recheck doublets) which meant Apsu’s Kinnaku which was his Council of Sons, or his golden sons, or his gold, depending on the spoken vowels, but mankind needed only know it was ‘them-same-bones’ … and we see the word in Hawaiian, Kanaka, meaning just man, because the original men were golden from whom they were descended….

  92. ShadE -  December 2, 2010 - 5:27 pm

    wow people get really touching about this stuff. o.O

  93. Paula -  December 2, 2010 - 5:03 pm

    Ariel, come to my place of work which employes a couple thousand Chinese natives, and the spellings of whose names have no place whatsoever in the English language, and we’ll see if you don’t find yourself sounding like a retard when you try to pronnounce them.

  94. kimberly -  December 2, 2010 - 5:01 pm

    if you agree with something i say write a comment saying it

  95. D / DM -  December 2, 2010 - 4:28 pm

    @Willie Goldburg:
    What does “chulking” mean?

    @Ariel Biegel:
    It’s not every day you see someone call English-speakers morons in nearly perfect English.

  96. David E. -  December 2, 2010 - 4:10 pm

    The letter is officially translated into English as .

    Among Sephardi speakers, and among Arabs, this letter is pronounced as a very “throaty” h, as in the Arab/Muslim ‘Muhammad’. This letter is known as ‘ḥet’ among Sephardic (Spanish, Italian, Greek, Middle Eastern, and North African descent) Jews. Hence the spelling of Hanukkah/Hannukah.

    Among Ashkenazi Jews, this letter is pronounced as ch as spoken in German, such as the word ‘Reich’ in German or ‘loch’ in Scottish Irish. The letter is known as ‘ches’ (the letter th is pronounced \t\ by Sephardim and \s\ by Ashkenazim) among Ashkenazic (Eastern European, e.g., Russian, German, Polish descent) Jews. Hence the spelling of Chanukah.

    Did I clear things up?

    @Micky Rose:
    Have you considered that your “Jewish” school may not be the sole authority on Judaism?

  97. Rayn -  December 2, 2010 - 4:07 pm

    Since i’m Jewish I believe the “ch” replaces the letter in hebrew that cant be pronounced in English so they used “ch” as the closest sounding pronunciation. If people accidentally say it wrong who cares. However, that IS the reason they changed the first two letters to an “h”.

  98. ashley -  December 2, 2010 - 3:37 pm

    amen means so be it, i think

  99. Hannukah -  December 2, 2010 - 3:33 pm

    translitelation is assimilation of foreigness.

  100. CHANUKA | BLOGCHI@mayopia.com -  December 2, 2010 - 3:27 pm

    [...] Happy Hanukkah with Adam Sandler’s Harmonica and don’t forget your Yamaha — with all the Jewish Stars about no wonder it’s the “Festival of Lights” — or was that a thousand points — Double Down and that’s just how the world spins round. — like a Chanukah driedel. –>>Rupert L.T.Rhyme [...]

  101. George -  December 2, 2010 - 3:16 pm

    @Ariel Biegel. I speak Aramaic fluently (new Assyrian), so I don’t have any problem pronouncing Hebrew words.

    Just because you can pronounce a certain sound doesn’t give you the right to insult others that cannot pronounce a certain sound/letter in a language that is not related to their mother tongue.

    If you do some research on how human develop their speech abilities. You’ll find out that human develop their vocal cords and learn how to utter sounds at a very early stage of their childhood, subsequently shaping their Vocal Cords and impacting their speech ability. Learning a new language pass a certain age will inevitably leave the speaker (leaner) with an accent and difficulties in pronouncing or uttering certain sounds.

    Your ability to pronounce (CH) doesn’t make you more intelligent than any English person/speaker. Many Japanese don’t/can’t pronounce english letters… Many Jewish have very heavy accent and don’t’/can’t pronounce english words the way the native speakers do.

    Does that make them stupid or less intelligent?

    Please do not turn an education forum to a hate channel. However you are forgiven if you are still in the Vocal Cords developing stage

    Chabby Chanukah and Mewwy Chwistmas to all…

    • Aki -  December 7, 2015 - 4:07 pm

      I thought Aramaic was a dead language.

  102. Rachel -  December 2, 2010 - 3:07 pm

    Felicity- everyone has different ways of celebrating the holiday. there isn’t a right or wrong way. the thing about presents, though, isn’t part of a religious aspect of hannukah. i think it probably got started because those celebrating christmas gave each other presents, and since it is frequently around the same time, those celebrating hannukah adopted the same traditions. it IS typical, however, to make at least one night designated to giving to charity, rather than exchanging gifts.

    also, a menorah is any candelabra, while a hannukiah is specialized to have the nine candles.

  103. Michael Dadona -  December 2, 2010 - 3:02 pm

    In this case, most readers (including me) follow what newspaper’s author composed and published for “Hanukkah”. It is a common practice to believe that what has been printed and displayed on newspaper authoritatively approved by editorial board.

    The confused word is “amen”, some used “ameen” and also not less for “amin”. So, which one should be accepted as the original word? Whether amen or whether ameen or whether amin.

  104. kimberly -  December 2, 2010 - 2:58 pm

    ariel you cant speak every language or pronounce every word which means you just called yourself a moron i speak American,English,French,German,Russian,Spanish,and Italian and i turned 13 today.that means a 13 year old is smarter than you and so is everyone else here

  105. Potatoes!!!!!! -  December 2, 2010 - 2:52 pm

    n_n i read this article and smiled because it reminded me of the potato cakes we always make on hanukkah.

  106. Ruby Juarez -  December 2, 2010 - 2:49 pm

    The having different ways on spelling Hannukah is so cool! I’m not Jewish but I am Cristian and I celebrate Christmas.It is almost like Christmas except you open one present each day and we open them all on the same day at once.

  107. Danielle -  December 2, 2010 - 2:44 pm

    Happy Hannukah everyone!

  108. MTRY -  December 2, 2010 - 2:12 pm

    The real name of this holiday is Chanukah, with the “ch” being sounded as if you were clearing your throat. Since this is not a sound that is part of the English language, and people therefore cannot say the “ch” sound, the “c” was dropped and it became Hanukkah.

  109. Mike -  December 2, 2010 - 1:45 pm

    The Hebrew word חֲנֻכָּה should be transliterated into English as “Chanukka.”

    1. Most anyone who speaks Hebrew knows that the Hebrew letterח is not pronounced like the English letter “h” as in “hello” (voiceless glottal fricative), nor the “ch” as in “chair” (voiceless postalveolar affricate), but rather, like the “ch” in “Bach” (voiceless velar fricative).

    It should be transliterated into English as the digraph “ch.” By transliterating it incorrectly as “Hanukka” rather than “Chanukka,” one may lead the reader to assume that the first letter of the word is the letter ה (he) rather than ח (chet).

    2. Furthermore, the כ (kaf) is written with a dagesh chazak, viz. כּ. This means that it should not be transliterated as “k” but rather “kk.”

    3. The Hebrew word חֲנֻכָּה occurs eight times in the Hebrew Masoretic text and is typically translated into English (in most versions) as “dedication.” Likewise, the Aramaic equivalent חֲנֻכָּא occurs four times and is also translated as “dedication” in the majority of English translations. The word חֲנֻכָּה is derived from the root verb חָנַךְ (chanak) which means “to dedicate, inaugurate.”

    4. Unless a word ends in the letter הּ (he with mappik), then it is not transliterated into English with the letter “h” at the end of it. For example, we don’t write “Mosheh” but “Moshe.” Now, there are some exceptions to this rule, particularly those words which have, over time, been written in English with the “h” affixed. In these words, the “h” is not dropped because of custom, e.g. we write “Torah” not “Tora.”

  110. marx lenn mendoza -  December 2, 2010 - 1:23 pm

    wow, this is an info that can’t be missed. i always thought its Hannukah but i never thought that there are other ways to spell it hahaha love it

  111. Jen -  December 2, 2010 - 1:20 pm

    Ariel – not sure why translating a word to English and then having it follow no rules of that language would make the native English speakers morons for mispronouncing it? I suppose all English speakers who mispronounce my very German last name are all morons as well huh?

  112. Daniel Rosenberg -  December 2, 2010 - 1:03 pm

    The word menorah needs to be challenged because it is technically a misnomer. In the American/Jewish American cultural lexicon, menorah has been used;however the correct word would be a Hanukkah candelabra or literally in Hebrew, a Hanukiah.

  113. Willie Goldburg -  December 2, 2010 - 12:51 pm

    The right speeling is Hunnokhah or Hunnoq. This word came from when the Egyptions contained the jewish group who escape from Egypt to Palastine through Senai for about one month. It called in Arabic Khnoqah mean chulking. I hope I am right in thi spoint.

    • Aki -  December 7, 2015 - 4:11 pm

      You’re not. Wrong time period. Chanukah didn’t come about until the time of the Second Temple which was the time of the Romans– so that would be around 65-70 B.C.E. where as Egypt, (The Exodus from it) was 1270 B.C.E. or thereabouts.

      BIG difference.

      Believe it or not, Chanukah is not mentioned in the Old Testament at all.

  114. Micky Rose -  December 2, 2010 - 12:48 pm

    Hanukkah is spelled Hanukkah. My school taught me that and the school is a jewish school.

  115. Anne -  December 2, 2010 - 12:45 pm

    Would we call someone a moron or a retard simply for not having knowledge of multiple languages? Or, might they simply be ignorant of this knowledge, which is honest without being accusatory?

  116. Kelli -  December 2, 2010 - 12:39 pm

    Speaking a language that is lacking a certain sound or letter doesn’t make one a moron, nor does mispronouncing a foreign word make one worthy of an epithet.

    I, for one, found the article interesting and informative. Why respond with such vitriol?

  117. Rachel Held -  December 2, 2010 - 12:33 pm

    I think its cool that its spelled differently!

  118. Felicity Hunter -  December 2, 2010 - 12:28 pm

    way i herd it, everybody opens 1 gift on each of the 8 days. is that right?

    • Melly -  December 8, 2015 - 1:47 pm

      That’s a new tradition, a way many people in America try to Chrismas-ise it. It has nothing to do with why Hannukah is celebrated, but some people do that, yes.

  119. Ariel Biegel -  December 2, 2010 - 12:20 pm

    Chanukah is supposed to translate the letter in hebrew that we don’t have in english but since everyone calls it chanukah as in chew. So they changed it to starting with an H so that these morons that speak english can pronounce it without sounding retarded!

  120. HerexForxYourxEntertainment -  December 2, 2010 - 12:18 pm

    Actually, Hanukah translates as “rededication” and the candleabra is called a Hanukiah.

  121. Anjayle -  December 2, 2010 - 12:06 pm

    OMG I’ve never knew that there were a ton of different ways of spelling that


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