Inside: Hanukkah is a great time to teach your Spanish students about other diverse cultures and traditions. What better way to infuse culture in December in Spanish class than with music? Here are five Spanish songs about Hanukkah to use in Spanish class. Janucá en la clase de español.
Why focus on Hanukkah in Spanish class?
December in Spanish classes can be pretty Christian-centered. Due to the fact that many Spanish-speaking countries are heavily Catholic a lot of the cultural units that Spanish teachers teach in December follow that theology. I know that I have been guilty of focusing on Christmas, through Christmas commercial madness, holiday dances, plate sketch game, and such, so I am always looking to diversify. You can see more ideas for December in this Winter holidays blog post.
First, I have never celebrated Hanukkah, so I am sharing resources I have found with my own research. One of my closest friends growing up celebrated Hanukkah each year with her Oma. Oma actually spoke to us at school, as she was a Holocaust survivor who escaped occupied Europe as a child. I hope to do the late, great Oma proud, helping to diversify December holiday content in Spanish classes. If you have better suggestions, please let me know and I will gladly edit this post.
What is Hanukkah? When is Hanukkah in 2023?
Hanukkah or Janucá is an important celebration for Spanish-speaking Jewish communities and is a great opportunity to teach students about cultural diversity. Also known as the Festival of Lights, is celebrated by lighting candles each night for eight nights. Hanukkah 2023 occurs from December 7 to December 15. So if you teach the week before break, this is the perfect time to teach about Hanukkah in Spanish class.
Spanish Songs for Hanukkah
There are many great Spanish songs for Hanukkah that can be used to teach in the classroom for Música miércoles. As always, please preview to make sure any song you use works with your school culture and student ages. If you are wondering what to do with these songs, check out the new blog post Talk About Music in Spanish Class. Here are a few songs to use in your Spanish class this December.
“8 Candelitas” by 123 Andrés y Alina Celeste
First, as the title 8 Candelitas suggests, this Spanish-language Hanukkah song is all about lighting candles. This version by 123 Andrés & Alina Celesta is an especially great choice for younger Spanish students. The lyrics are very simple and easy to remember and it makes for a good sing-along.
Ocho kandelikas – Pink Martini ft. China Forbes, Ari Shapiro, Storm Large & Cantor Ida Rae Cahana
Or if you teach older students, this live version of Ocho kandelikas would be a better option. You could also discuss how the song was originally in Ladino (also known as Judeo-Spanish), a Romance language derived from Old Spanish originally spoken in Spain. So, you could have a discussion about how 123 Andrés used the Spanish version candelitas vs. the traditional Ladino kandelikas below.
“OH CHANUKAH IN SPANISH” Translated and performed by Nathalia
Next, is this translation of the classic English Hanukkah song “Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah.” It would work well with younger students. In addition to being a great listening exercise, it’s also a great way to teach your students about Jewish culture and traditions. There are many versions in English that you could use for cultural comparisons as well.
“Noche de Hannukah” Elena de Ávalor – (Español de España)
The Disney show Elena of Avalor is originally in English, but they do a great job bringing in diverse traditions at an accessible level. I actually used a clip from the Día de Muertos episode with my upper-level high school students. So this song could work with both young children, as well as older students.
“Video y canción especial de JANUKA” Shaare Jesed
Finally, video y canción especial de JANUKA, is a more religious song that is not animated. This song is from the organization Shaare Jesed. I tried to research where this organization is located but
What to do with the song in Spanish?
- Chat about any song in Spanish using the NEW Music Find Someone Who!
- Get lots more ideas here >> What to do with a song in Spanish class & the video below
Want music & more to start Spanish class for 3 weeks?
- Para Empezar – Winter Holidays – Class starters for 3 weeks in the Winter
- Navidad songs for Spanish class (blog post coming December 14th!)
- Also, learn more about how I use music to start class > Música miércoles
- Finally, want themed songs for baile viernes > Holiday dance videos
More Winter Resources for Spanish Class
- Este descanso – Pre Winter break plans – to talk about winter break in the future tense
- Digital Slides- post-Holiday Break – perfect for the Monday AFTER the break
- Find Someone Who – post-Holiday Break– perfect for the Monday AFTER the break
- Los Reyes Magos – reading – cultural reading, perfect for a sub plan in Dec/Jan
- Finally, here are all of my resources together in a Winter Holiday Bundle
- Plus, bonus Music for Spanish class slides – sign up below
These Spanish songs about Hanukkah are a great way to teach your students about other cultures and traditions. By listening to or even singing along with these songs, your students will not only learn about the holiday of Hanukkah, but they’ll also get exposure to Jewish culture and traditions. What will you be teaching your students this year?
Spanish Songs for Hanukkah was originally published on Mis Clases Locas 12.13.22 & most recently updated 12.11.23