Hanukkah begins on December 8 this year, but you probably don’t need to have it on your calendar to know that. As in recent years, the onslaught of corny holiday song parodies will have already tipped you off.
Perhaps the forerunner of this genre was Adam Sandler’s “Hanukkah Song,” which debuted on Saturday Night Live way back in 1994. Though the idea was a little tired by the time parts two and three rolled around in 1999 and 2002, the original song was unexpected and fun. It was also not particularly about Hanukkah. Sandler’s lighthearted catalogue of Jews gently mocked a potentially controversial Jewish behavior (collecting the names of people we can “claim”) and allowed Gentiles to safely laugh at something they may or may not have fully understood. The songs hinted at non-Jewish fears (They’re everywhere!) as well as Jewish ones (*We’re everywhere, and they have the list!)
Though the “Hanukkah Song” dominated the airwaves, it wasn’t alone. Hip Hop Hoodios’ 2002 release “Ocho Kandalikas,” for example, cleverly gave a sweet Ladino counting song a new attitude while avoiding anything cringe-worthy … at least until the girl with the bagel-bikini-top floats by.