The 12 Greatest Hanukkah References in Pop Culture

Hanukkah references are hard to come by. The holiday doesn’t have a rosy-cheeked mascot to sit in malls and appear on Coke bottles all winter. There aren’t too many Hanukkah songs available in our musical zeitgeist (aside from “I Have a Little Dreidel,” of course). The Festival of Lights doesn’t infiltrate the world of entertainment nearly as much as Christmas does, but that in no way detracts from its importance and meaning. In fact, it just makes the rare Hanukkah pop culture references even MORE memorable! The start of Hanukkah is just a few days away, so we’ve rounded up the 12 best holiday-themed moments from movies, television, and music to help get you in the seasonal spirit. From Maccabee Rugrats to holiday armadillos, one thing’s for sure — it’s so much fun-akkah to celebrate Hanukkah!

The 12 Greatest Hanukkah References in Pop Culture:

  • To be, or Maccabee — that is the question. 1 of 13
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    Click through for the 12 greatest Hanukkah references in all of pop culture!

  • The Holiday Armadillo | Friends 2 of 13
    Friends Television Stills

    When Ross wants to teach his son about the history of Hanukkah, the holiday's lack of a snazzy mascot makes it hard to keep the tot's attention. In a stroke of genius, Ross dresses up as a Hanukkah symbol of his own invention — the "holiday armadillo." Of course, Chandler and Joey spoil the plan when they suddenly appear dressed as Santa and Superman, but that's another story...

    Watch "The One With the Holiday Armadillo" here


    Photo credit: Amazon

  • "The Chanukah Song" 3 of 13
    1994 MTV Video Music Awards

    Adam Sandler's "Chanukah Song," first performed on Saturday Night Live in 1994, calls attention to pop culture's absence of Jewish holidays better than anything else. The song hilariously tries to make Jewish kids feel left out during Christmas by rattling off the names of celebrities who are Jewish … or quarter-Jewish … or who have Jewish agents. It now remains not only one of SNL's most famous contributions, but also an absolute holiday staple.


    Photo credit: PR Photos

  • The Hebrew Hammer 4 of 13

    Meet Mordechai Jefferson Carver, more heroically known as The Hebrew Hammer — the world's first Jewish private detective. This 2002 satire tells the tale of Mordechai's traumatic upbringing, in which his Christian school classmates torment him and Santa Claus stomps on his toy dreidel. This inspires him to become The Hebrew Hammer, defending Hanukkah and valiantly fighting Santa's evil son (played by Andy Dick — HA!).

    Watch the "Hebrew Hammer" trailer here


    Photo credit: Amazon

  • "Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo" | South Park 5 of 13
    south park

    When Kyle feels left out on Christmas because his family celebrates Hanukkah, he tries to get everyone to believe in Mr. Hankey, a non-denominational piece of ... well, poo. South Park Elementary then strips its holiday pageant of anything even remotely Christmas, resulting in "The Happy, Non-Offensive, Non-Denominational Christmas Play." This landmark episode combines South Park's trademark mix of scatological humor and smart commentary, this time satirizing the sometimes ridiculous lengths people go to in the name of religious sensitivity.

    Watch "Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo" here


    Photo credit: Amazon

  • The Maccabeats 6 of 13

    The Maccabeats are an all-male a cappella group from Yeshiva University in New York City. Aside from having an awesome name, the group became famous for "Candlelight," their Hanukkah spoof of Taio Cruz's "Dynamite." The song is a musical retelling of Hanukkah's history with over 8.7 million views on YouTube — and trust me, it's downright delightful. The Maccabeats have gone on to release several more hit parodies, and they even performed at the White House in 2011.


    Photo credit: Amazon

  • Eight Crazy Nights 7 of 13

    Still riding on the insane success of "The Chanukah Song," Adam Sandler co-wrote and produced Eight Crazy Nights in 2002. Although critics panned the animated movie's irreverent plot line (centering on an alcoholic's antics during the Festival of Lights), it still remains the only mainstream movie to focus on Hanukkah. Even if you're not a diehard Sandler fan, you can always watch Eight Crazy Nights to hear Tyra Banks voice a Victoria's Secret gown...

    Watch the "Eight Crazy Nights" trailer here


    Photo credit: Amazon

  • A Rugrats Chanukah 8 of 13
    Screen Shot 2013-11-25 at 3.41.15 PM (2)

    I remember when A Rugrats Chanukah premiered back in 1996 — it was such a huge deal! The special episode begins with Grandma Minka reading a book about the meaning of the holiday to Tommy, Chucky, Phil, and Lil. The babies then imagine themselves as the characters in a hilarious and surprisingly educational way. This is also the episode in which Tommy Pickles utters the epic phrase, "A Maccababy's gotta do what a Maccababy's gotta do!"

    Watch "A Rugrats Chanukah" here


    Photo credit: Amazon

  • "Heck of a Hanukkah" | Even Stevens 9 of 13

    Oh, how I miss Even Stevens. "Heck of a Hanukkah" premiered during the show's first season, and it gives a Hanukkah spin to the It's a Wonderful Life plot. Louis gets grounded after destroying his parents' stash of Hanukkah presents, and he immediately wonders if his family would be better off without him. His great-great-great-great-grandmother Bubbie Rose appears to him in a dream to show him a world without Louis Stevens. Needless to say, Louis realizes his importance, wakes up from his dream, and makes peace with his family just in time for the holiday celebrations.


    Photo credit: Disney

  • Barenaked for the Holidays 10 of 13

    Barenaked Ladies, the quirky Canadian band, released their album Barenaked for the Holidays in October of 2004. While it's not unusual for popular bands to record their own renditions of seasonal tunes, Barenaked Ladies included Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year's, and plain old winter-themed songs on their album — proving that "holiday" music includes more than just Christmas carols. Their Hanukkah songs (including "I Have a Little Dreidel" and "Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah") were particularly successful, causing the band to release a follow-up E.P. in 2005, Barenaked for Hanukkah.


    Photo credit: Amazon

  • Hanukkah Harry 11 of 13
    Kill Bill: Volume 1 Movie Priemere

    Before Adam Sandler and "The Chanukah Song," there was Jon Lovitz and Hanukkah Harry. This iconic character first appeared on Saturday Night Live in a 1989 skit titled "The Night Hanukkah Harry Saved Christmas." When Santa gets the flu on Christmas Eve, he calls his good friend Hanukkah Harry on Mt. Sinai to help him deliver all his toys. Harry proceeds to fly through the air on a cart pulled by donkeys and teaches children a revolutionary concept: "Christians and Jews, deep down, are pretty much the same."

    Watch "The Night Hanukkah Harry Saved Christmas" here


    Photo credit: PR Photos

  • Chrismukkah 12 of 13

    Chrismukkah is to the 2000s what Festivus was to the 1990s. The made-up holiday was created by The O.C.'s Seth Cohen as a way to make the most of his interfaith upbringing. We don't know much about Chrismukkah, other than it being "eight days of presents, followed by one day of many presents." Regardless, this made-up event has gone on to inspire greeting cards and books, and it was even named one of Time magazine's buzzwords of 2004.

    Watch "The Best Chrismukkah Ever" here


    Photo credit: Amazon

  • "Can I Interest You in Hanukkah?" 13 of 13

    In 2008, Stephen Colbert debuted his Grammy Award-winning Christmas special, A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All! When Stephen gets trapped in a cabin, several of his friends stop by to sing holiday songs with him and help make his Christmas memorable. Every song is awesome, but one of the true stand-outs is "Can I Interest You in Hanukkah?" featuring Jon Stewart. Jon tries to get Stephen to consider celebrating Hanukkah this year, but to no avail — the song ends with Stephen singing, "I'll keep Jesus, you keep your potato pancakes." If you haven't seen it, please watch it now and laugh your head off. 

    Watch "Can I Interest You in Hanukkah?" here


    Photo credit: Amazon


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Article Posted 3 years Ago

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