It is also traditional to play a game called dreidel (a Yiddish word that comes from the German word "drehen," which means “to turn.” In Hebrew the dreidel is called a sevivon). The dreidel is a four-sided spinning top with a different Hebrew letter on each side. The four letters allude to the miracle of Chanukah. They spell out: Nes (נ-miracle), Gadol (ג-great), Haya (ה-happened) and Po (פ-here, meaning in Israel). Outside of Israel the letter ש-there, replaces the פ.
Image: Twitter Birds Chanukiah by the Israeli painter and sculptor David Gerstein, a favourite of mine!
My Chanukah cards this year featured the dreidel, along with some colourful presents and a shiny Magen David (Star of David). The Hebrew letter Shin (ש) appears on the dreidels since these particular cards were sent to a shop in the UK. The miracle of the oil refers to the miracle that happened sham (there), in Israel, and not in the UK.
To those of you celebrating this fun festival, I wish you a Chanukah Sameach - a Happy Chanukah. May this year be filled with light... and many delicious fried foods. Apparently Israelis devour some 24 million sufganiyot during the eight-day holiday – adding up to 10.8 billion calories!