Celebrating Hanukkah: Dreidel in Festive Traditions

Celebrating Hanukkah: Dreidel in Festive Traditions

One of the most notable festivals in Jewish tradition and history is known as Hannukah. Public holidays are declared to mark this festival, often spanning eight days. This year, it will be held between December 7th and 15th of 2023. During this period, many Jewish children and adults worldwide will play a game that uses a traditional spinning top called a “Dreidel.” 

The Dreidel is a small gaming tool with inscribed Hebrew letters on each side. And as small and simple as this traditional toy is, it carries a tremendous cultural and religious significance, especially during Hannukah. In this casino news, we’ll delve into its origins, meaning, evolution, and connection to the world of casino gaming.

What is a Dreidel? A Spin to Win Delight

A Dreidel is a four-sided spinning top gaming tool with a pointed bottom and Hebrew letters inscribed on each side. It is used to play a game during Hanukkah, an annual Jewish holiday. It comes in different sizes and is made of either plastic or wood.

The body of a Dreidel contains four Hebrew letters- nun, gimel, hey, and shin. They stand for the saying, “Nes gadol haya sham,” which means “A great miracle occurred there” for people outside Israel. 

But for people living inside of Israel, the fourth letter, “shin,” is replaced with a “peh,” which changes the saying to “Nes gadol haya po,” which means “A great miracle occurred here.” Each letter on the body of a Dreidel specifies the action a player would take if they land on it.

While learning how to play Battleship may be easy or hard, depending on your knowledge of table games, in the Dreidel game, the suspense of unpredictable outcomes tied to turning the Hebrew letters heightens and reduces your expectations.

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History, Origin, and Meaning

Some historians suggest that Driedel has its origins from ancient Greece or Rome. But one thing is certain: the origins of Driedel date far back to ancient times. However, the deeper roots of Dreidel are that of the Jewish culture and Hanukkah’s story.

Also known as the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah celebrates the oil miracle that lasted eight days instead of a night in the second temple of Jerusalem. According to records, when the Jewish people were under the rule of the Seleucid King Antiochus IV, they were forbidden from studying the Torah. 

To find a way around this decree, Jewish children had to learn in secret and also pull out their tops and spin them whenever a soldier approached them.

Dreidel Letters: Their Meaning 

Below is the translation for all four letters on the body of the Dreidel:

  • Nun means “nisht” or “nothing.” It means the player does nothing.
  • Gimel means “gantz” or “everything.” It means the player gets everything in the pot.
  • Hey represents “halb” or “half.” It means the player receives half of the pot. For odds numbers, the player takes half of the pot plus one.
  • Shin or Peh means to “shtel” or “put in.” The player adds a game piece to the set-aside pot.

What it Takes to Play Dreidel

According to multiple online casino reviews, the Dreidel is a traditional and entertaining activity anybody can play. Be it old or young, anyone can enjoy this game. Many players can play simultaneously, and its gameplay is straightforward. 

To play, all players gather around and take turns spinning the Dreidel. And depending on which letter faces up when the object comes to rest, players either win or lose game pieces. 

Here are some vital details you should know as you learn how to play Dreidel 

Number of Players

Any number of persons can partake in playing.

Game Pieces

Every player receives an equal number of game pieces (usually 10 to 15). Coins, buttons, nuts, pennies, chocolate chips, etc., can be used as game pieces.


Players put not more than one game piece into the pot once a round begins. When the pot is empty or has only one game piece left, every player is expected to put one in the pot. Spin the Dreidel once it gets to your turn. Depending on which side it lands on, you either get to give or get game pieces from the pot. 

Dreidel in Casinos

Dreidel has evolved and found its way into the casino gambling world. Casinos offering diverse arcade table games have included the game in Hanukkah-themed promotions. 

The traditional rules of playing Dreidel are retained, with players staking real money on the outcome of each spin. However, as much as the online casino game adaptation of Dreidel acknowledges and promotes cultural diversity and holiday celebrations, it’s essential not to neglect its religious importance.


The traditional game Dreidel continues to make its way into people’s hearts worldwide, much like the Italian game Sedie does in bridging cultural divides. Additionally, online casinos provide the game to capture the essence of luck, tradition, and the festive Hanukkah celebration.

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