family at Hanukkah
Source: Getty Images

How Do You Spell Hanukkah? There’s Way More Than One Correct Answer So It’s All Good!

Melissa Willets - Author
By

Dec. 18 2022, Published 12:57 p.m. ET

There are a lot of fun facts some folks may not know about Hanukkah. For instance, Jews enjoy fried food during the eight-day celebration on purpose, to commemorate the oil that lasted that amount of time back when the temple was rededicated in Jerusalem.

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Also, there are many, many ways to spell Hanukkah correctly. And the reason behind this is super interesting. Let’s dive into why you’re in the clear if you spell Hanukkah in over 20 — yes, you read that right — different ways.

How do you spell Hanukkah? Here’s why the answer isn’t as straightforward as you’d imagine.

potato latkes being passed
Source: Getty Images

Hanukkah is the Jewish holiday that commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple of Jerusalem, per Britannica. The occasion is celebrated by lighting a menorah after sundown on eight nights, and exchanging money or gifts — as well as eating fried foods like potato latkes.

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As far as the spelling of Hanukkah, believe it or not, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 24 different versions of the holiday’s name are actually correct. How is that possible?

Well, the reason has to do with the Hebrew alphabet, which is not based on Latin characters like we use in English. The Hebrew spelling of the holiday is חֲנֻכָּה. That first letter of the alphabet is called chet and is pronounced more like an “h” sound than a “ch” sound — which is why the spelling Hanukkah, based on transliteration of the Hebrew alphabet, has become popularized, versus Chanukah, which is also correct.

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lighting the menorah
Source: Getty Images

In fact, you can spell the holiday in the following ways, and still be right, based on historical spellings: Hanukkah, Chanucha, Chanuchah, Hanuca, Hanucka, Chanuca, Chanucah, Chanucca, Chanuccah, Chanuka, Chanukah, Chanukka, Chanukkah, Hanucah, Hanucca, Hanuccah, Hanucha, Hanuckah, Hanuka, Hanukah, Hanukka, Hanukkah, Khanukah, Khanukka, and Khanukkah, per Merriam-Webster.

The bottom line is that most experts agree the most important thing is not how you spell the holiday, but how it is pronounced, with a more guttural sound like clearing the throat at the beginning of the word. And, according to Chabad.org, that the holiday is observed and enjoyed by families each and every year is more significant than anything else.

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