How to spell Hanukkah 2011

Hanukkah (חֲנֻכָּה) started at sundown on Tuesday, December 20th, 2011. This year’s data was collected the following morning.

  1. Hanukkah: 20,800,000 hits.
  2. Chanukah: 6,820,000 hits.
  3. Hannukah: 1,860,000 hits.
  4. Hanukah: 1,560,000 hits.
  5. Chanukkah: 568,000 hits.
  6. Chanuka: 388,000 hits.
  7. Hanukka: 375,000 hits.
  8. Channukah: 306,000 hits.
  9. Hanuka: 215,000 hits.
  10. Hannuka: 104,000 hits.
  11. Hannukkah: 97,400 hits.
  12. Chanukka: 72,300 hits.
  13. Channuka: 57,200 hits.
  14. Hannukka: 38,300 hits.
  15. Xanuka: 31,900 hits.
  16. Chanuqa: 27,700 hits.
  17. Channukka: 19,700 hits.
  18. Janukah: 14,200 hits.
  19. Janukkah: 12,700 hits.
  20. Channukkah: 8,530 hits.

Instead the spaghetti graph from previous years, I’ve switched to a stacked area chart. This shows total hits and gives a quick visual sense of how each spelling is distributed. Prettier AND more meaningful!

Bing was used to generate the numbers this year, collecting the data with the Bing API was fast and easy. Google is a mess, their search result counts are basically arbitrary, change constantly and are difficult to collect.

This year I’ve opened up the spreadsheet data through Google Docs. I’m not a spreadsheet guy or a statistician, if this could be done better let me know. Here’s the link: How to Spell Hanukkah Spreadsheet.

And finally for my mother, who insists on Chanukah, I’ve included a new “gelt” chart which breaks down the spellings by H vs. Ch:

Based on my original Sixteen Ways to Spell Hanukkah post from 2005. Updated in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010.

How to spell Hanukkah 2010

While totals are lower due to Hanukkah’s very early start this year (December 1st), Google’s numbers seem especially screwy this year. I just don’t believe that results for Hanukkah fell by 10 million hits year-over-year.

Here’s my original Sixteen Ways to Spell Hanukkah post from 2005.

How to spell Hanukkah 2009

How to spell Hanukkah 2009

Here are the 21 spellings in order of usage this year: Hanukkah, Chanukah, Hannukah, Hanukah, Chanukkah, Hanuka, Chanuka, Channukah, Hanukka, Chanukka, Hannuka, Hannukkah, Channuka, Channukkah, Hannukka, Xanuka, Channukka, Janukah, Janukkah, Janukkah and Chanuqa.

Previous years: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008.

How to spell Hanukkah 2008


This is the 2008 update compiling Google search results for 22 variations on the spelling of Hanukkah. This year, by request, I added three variations based on Spanish spellings starting with the letter J.

Previous years: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007. 2004 numbers thanks to Jeremy Blachman

Current Google Trends snapshot of the top 5 spellings:


How Do You Spell Channukkahh by the Leevees

How to spell Hanukkah 2007

hanukkah spellings graph 2007

hanukkah spellings key 2007

Hanukkah fell very early this year, the first night was December 4th, so there wasn’t a lot of time to build up queries before the holiday started. I think that’s reflected in the lowered counts across the top of the field. While it would be nice to think there was starting to be some consensus about how to render the word in English, the dramatic falloff of the secondary Ch-spellings is most likely time-related. I’m going to keep an eye on the numbers over the next eight nights, if results increase significantly I’ll update the graph.

Here’s Google Trends graph showing results over time. Click the graph for more viewing options.

hanukkah usage trends

Previous years: 2004, 2005, 2006 (my CSV data file). 2004 numbers thanks to Jeremy Blachman

How to spell Hannukah, 2006 edition

Last year I posted Sixteen ways to spell Hanukkah, here’s an updated list showing this years counts for the various spellingsHanukkah Spelling Chart 2006:

36,515,976 total hits. Again, Google’s index seems to have grown quite a bit, the total number of hits is more than double the total from 2005. This file contains my Hanukkah spelling counts for the past three years.

Thanks again to Jeremy Blachman for posting the 2004 numbers.

Happy Hanukkah, see you again in 2007.

Sixteen ways to spell Hanukkah

For the record:

Hanukkah : 8,470,000 hits.
Chanukah : 3,390,000 hits.
Hanukah : 862,000 hits.
Hannukah : 677,000 hits.
Chanuka : 335,000 hits.
Chanukkah : 274,000 hits.
Hanuka : 192,000 hits.
Channukah : 128,000 hits.
Chanukka : 116,000 hits.*
Hanukka : 86,300 hits.
Hannuka : 51,400 hits.
Hannukkah : 37,300 hits.
Channuka : 33,600 hits.
Xanuka : 992 hits.
Hannukka : 686 hits.
Channukkah : 508 hits.
Channukka : 489 hits.*
Chanuqa : 25 hits.

With the exception of a few wildcards, there are 16 different spellings, based on four phonetic variations:

  • The word starts with “H” or “Ch”
  • Second consonant is “nn” or “n”
  • Third consonant is “kk” or “k”
  • The word ends with “ah” or “a”

I think I must have grown up with “Chanukah”, because it look most right to me. At Lila’s pre-school Hanukkah party, there were three different spellings within 10 feet of one another. In the interest of ending the ridiculousness of the dozens of spellings, I’m going forward with “Hanukkah” which is the preferred spelling used by the Library of Congress. At least it’s always the same in Hebrew: חֲנֻכָּה

This would be a fun thing to make dynamic, even chart over time. If only I had time… Jeremy Blachman did the same Hanukkah spelling thing in 2004, interesting to see how much bigger the Google indexes have grown in 12 months.

See results for other years: 2012, 20112010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006.

* These seem to be popular spellings in German.