When the sun goes down on Saturday, Dec. 8, Jews around the world will light the menorah and begin the eight-day celebration of Hanukkah. The festival commemorates the re-dedication of Jerusalem's temple after the Maccabean revolt.
For a non-encyclopedic background to the holiday, we suggest you turn to the benevolent educator, Sesame Street, for their historical account.
And in celebration of the holiday, here is a playlist of Hanukkah gems, both obvious and unexpected.
1. Any happenin' Hanukkah playlist wouldn’t be complete without Adam Sandler’s now ubiquitous homage. You can watch him singing live with a kids' choir, or here is the original with a fun slide show.
2. Hasidic reggae artist Matisyahu just released a brand new tune for Hanukkah, which you can watch here. We prefer the Hanukkah song he released two years ago though, complete with a dramatic skating rink scene and a bedside bacchanal temptress.
3. The celebration just wouldn't be right without some rhymes from our favourite Jewish rockers, the Beastie Boys. But we’re going to take it a bit further here with a parody called “(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To DREIDEL),” performed by the B-Boyz.
4. While we're spinning the dreidel, did you know that Sasha Baron Cohen has a brother named Erran Baron Cohen? And that Erran is a musician who released an album in 2008, titled Songs in the Key of Hanukkah? Here he is spinning the dreidel, Hasidic styles.
(Erran Baron Cohen also has a version of "Hanukkah Oh Hanukkah" you’re sure to like.)
5. The Maccabeats are a group of a cappella singers based in NYC, who took their name from the Maccabeans. They’ve recorded a song called “Candlelight,” all about Hanukkah and based on the Taio Cruz song, “Dynamite.”
6. When the Barenaked Ladies recorded a holiday album in 2004, rumour has it that Steven Page asked his gentile bandmates if they could "not sing so much about baby Jesus" on the album. Here they are with “Hanukkah Oh Hanukkah.”
7. If you’re a fan of the Broadway musical or film adaptation of Rock of Ages, you might just like this one.
8. And one for the gangstas that we can't actually embed due to "'language." But if you’re into celebrating the “Festival of Lights,” gangsta style, dig this.
9. To be totally sincere, when it comes to taking it to the next level only the legendary actor and singer Theodore Bikel truly transcends. Among his accolades, he holds the record for the performing the role of Teyye in Fiddler on the Roof the most, having performed the role more than 2,000 times. Here is the legend singing “Hanukkah Oh Hanukkah.”
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on Dec 07, 2012