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Quiz about I Have a Little Dreidel
Quiz about I Have a Little Dreidel

I Have a Little Dreidel Trivia Quiz


So starts the English version of a children's song associated with the Jewish feast of Hanukkah. How much do you know about this traditional toy, and the game played with it?

A multiple-choice quiz by looney_tunes. Estimated time: 5 mins.
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Author
looney_tunes
Time
5 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
372,455
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
7 / 10
Plays
355
Awards
Top 20% Quiz
- -
Question 1 of 10
1. According to the English lyrics of 'The Dreidel Song' which children sing at Hanukkah, out of what material is a dreidel made? Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. Outside of Israel, the four sides of a dreidel are inscribed with the letters Nun, Gimmel, Hey and Shin, mnemonics for the phrase 'Nes Gadol Hayah Sham', a reference to the origins of the Hanukkah celebrations. What is the usual translation of this phrase? Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. How many players are needed to play a game of dreidel? Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. The dreidel game starts with each player placing the same number of playing pieces in the pot (pool or kitty, located in the centre of play). While many different items can be used as playing pieces, by what name are they usually generically referred? Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. The letters on the four faces of a dreidel not only remind players of the origin of the Hanukkah tradition, they also contain the instructions telling each player what to do after they have had their turn at spinning the dreidel. What will the spinner do if the letter Nun appears on the top face of the dreidel when it comes to rest? Hint


Question 6 of 10
6. When the dreidel comes to rest with the side marked with the letter Gimmel facing up, what playing action is required of the spinner? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. When the dreidel lands with the letter Hey facing up, the spinner is to take half of the pieces in the pot. What happens when this is an odd number? Hint


Question 8 of 10
8. A player who spins Shin (or Peh) on the dreidel is required to perform which of these actions? Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. When a player is required to add one or more pieces to the pot, and does not have sufficient pieces in their reserve, what can they do to avoid leaving the game? Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. When does a game of dreidel officially end? Hint



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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. According to the English lyrics of 'The Dreidel Song' which children sing at Hanukkah, out of what material is a dreidel made?

Answer: Clay

According to the song, "I have a little dreidel, I made it out of clay; And when it's dry and ready, then dreidel I shall play". Actually, most modern dreidels are made of wood, glass or metal (such as aluminium, silver, or gold, with or without precious gemstones depending on your budget), but almost any material could be fashioned into the traditional shape, which has four flat sides (sometimes with truncated corners producing an additional four smaller faces), a curved bottom surface that comes to a point on which the top can spin, and a handle to hold it with.

The Yiddish words to the song, 'Ikh Bin A Kleyner Dreydl', make the actual dreidel the singer of the song, and it says that it is made out of lead.
2. Outside of Israel, the four sides of a dreidel are inscribed with the letters Nun, Gimmel, Hey and Shin, mnemonics for the phrase 'Nes Gadol Hayah Sham', a reference to the origins of the Hanukkah celebrations. What is the usual translation of this phrase?

Answer: A great miracle happened there

In Israel, the letter Shin is replaced by the letter Peh (representing the word Po), and the phrase becomes 'a great miracle happened here'. The letters are also Hebrew equivalents of the letters used in an older spinning top game called teetotum, with very similar rules, which was probably adopted by Yiddish-speaking Eastern European Jews when the game spread there from its original home in England and/or Ireland.

The letters then were given significance as forming a mnemonic for this phrase, referring to the miracle by which a single day's worth of sacred oil burned for eight days while a fresh batch could be prepared during the rededication of the Temple as described in the Biblical books First Maccabees and Second Maccabees.

These letters also serve as a guide to play.
3. How many players are needed to play a game of dreidel?

Answer: At least two

Any number of players can participate in the game, making it excellent in its flexibility to accommodate everyone who wants to play. Of course, a game with only two players will be much shorter than one with more players. The number of times the dreidel is spun before a game ends depends on both the number of players and (the square of) the number of playing pieces with which each player starts ('Advances in Applied Mathematics', Volume 36, Issue 1, January 2006, Pages 85-94). Yes, mathematicians got to play a children's game in order to publish their paper.
4. The dreidel game starts with each player placing the same number of playing pieces in the pot (pool or kitty, located in the centre of play). While many different items can be used as playing pieces, by what name are they usually generically referred?

Answer: Gelt

The tradition of giving children money (gelt) at Hanukkah goes back at least as far as the 17th century, when children in eastern Europe were allowed to keep some of the money given to them to pass on to their teachers as a gesture of thanks and respect. For playing, however, children do not usually use actual money, but chocolate coins covered in gold or silver foil. If no coins (real or chocolate) are available, almost anything can be substituted, as long as it is a reasonable size and you have enough to give each player 10-15 pieces. Nuts, grapes, matchsticks, raisins, chocolate chips - whatever you have works, but the game is more exciting if there is something attractive about the winner's lot.
5. The letters on the four faces of a dreidel not only remind players of the origin of the Hanukkah tradition, they also contain the instructions telling each player what to do after they have had their turn at spinning the dreidel. What will the spinner do if the letter Nun appears on the top face of the dreidel when it comes to rest?

Answer: Nothing

The letter Nun stands for the Yiddish word 'nisht', meaning 'nothing'. The player neither gains nor loses any pieces, and play passes to the next player.
6. When the dreidel comes to rest with the side marked with the letter Gimmel facing up, what playing action is required of the spinner?

Answer: Take everything in the pot

The letter Gimmel stands for the Yiddish word 'gantz', meaning 'everything'. This lucky player gets to empty the pot. All players are then required to place more pieces in the pot. All players add the same number each time, but it need not always be the same number as at the start of the game.
7. When the dreidel lands with the letter Hey facing up, the spinner is to take half of the pieces in the pot. What happens when this is an odd number?

Answer: The player takes one-half a piece more than half the total

The letter Hey stands for the Yiddish word 'halb', meaning 'half'. If there are an even number of pieces in the pot, this is straightforward. If the total is odd, the simple common-sense approach of taking just a bit more than half is used. If there are 25 pieces in the pot, the player takes 13 and leaves 12.

This is one-half a piece more than half the original total, since half of 25 is 12 1/2.
8. A player who spins Shin (or Peh) on the dreidel is required to perform which of these actions?

Answer: Add a piece to the pot

The letter Shin stands for the Yiddish word 'shtel', meaning 'put in'. Players in Israel will perform the same action when the letter Peh, standing for 'pay', comes on top.
9. When a player is required to add one or more pieces to the pot, and does not have sufficient pieces in their reserve, what can they do to avoid leaving the game?

Answer: Ask another player for a loan

In such a situation, the player may choose to leave the game, but if they aren't ready to retire they can ask other players to lend them as many pieces as they need to fulfill their obligation. The rules about when repayment must be made, and whether any 'interest' is expected, are developed on a purely local level.

There is no bank in the game, and stealing from other players is definitely outside the spirit of the season. Since none of the four possible spins results in the distribution of pieces to other players, the option of waiting for that to happen would essentially be the same as leaving the game. If none of the other players has sufficient resources to provide a loan, or if they all refuse to do so, the player is out of the game.
10. When does a game of dreidel officially end?

Answer: When one player has acquired all the playing pieces

While players may have been given a fixed period of time in which to play, and bedtime or boredom may cause a game to end prematurely, the official goal of the game is to acquire all the playing pieces. In the spirit of the holiday, players who used real money are encouraged to give their winnings to charity. Chocolate money, however, is there for the eating!
Source: Author looney_tunes

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor stedman before going online.
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