Chanukah is a Jewish holiday typically celebrated in December and involves menorahs, dreidels, presents and gelts. However, there doesn’t seem to be a concrete way on how to spell it. Why is Chanukah spelled so many different ways anyway? And how do you say it? Find out here.
Chanukah is actually Hebrew, so it is spelled with the Hebrew alphabet and can therefore be transliterated different in the English letters. That is why Chanukah is spelled many different ways.
Chet is a letter that isn’t pronounced like the ch in chin, so there isn’t actually an English equivalent to its pronunciation. This means that you need to make sounds similar to clearing your throat instead. One common way to approximate this in English would be with ch, although the regular ch doesn’t actually sound like that. Some people try using kh to pronounce it differently, but none of these are actually accurate. In general, however, the word simply begins with that particular sound.
There aren’t actually any vowels in Hebrew, either. Although there are signs for vowels that aren’t actually letters but more like pronunciation guides, they are placed under the letters and modern Hebrew doesn’t even put them to use. After a person starts speaking the language, however he will know which sounds he needs to use with each letter, but in English, vowels are used as letters, so they get added in the transliteration in English.
That is why Chanukah is spelled in different ways. Still, the greatest spelling would be Chanukah, though, since “ch” is closer to the actual Hebrew letter and the vowels are close to the sounds of the vowels in the original word, as well.