Other Holiday Specials Wiki
Clean Rugrats Hanukkah.jpg
Directed by: Raymie Muzquiz
Written by: David N. Weiss
J. David Stern
Release date: December 6, 1996
Running time: 25 minutes
Available on: VHS
Google Play

A Rugrats Chanukah (AKA "Chanukah") is a special Hanukkah-themed episode of the Nickelodeon animated series Rugrats. It is notably the first new episode of the series produced after its original run and return from cancellation.


After Grandma Minka tells some of the story of Chanukah, Grandpa Boris was infuriated after hearing that at last minute, Boris was replaced by an old rival for the role of King Antiochus, "...the meaning of Chanukah" in a Chanukah play. The babies are convinced that the rival is "the meany of Chanukah" and the babies are determined to get the "meany", while Stu makes a mechanical menorah (candlabre to put the eight candles of Chanukah), he has to go all the way to the synagogue where the play is at to bring his menorah.


The Biblical-themed cartoon begins with Minka is storytelling with the babies about the first Chanukah. Long ago, in the land of Israel, the Israelites lived peacefully with the Greeks, until one day, a new Greek king, Antiochus V Eupator, came and wanted everyone to wear what he wore and read what he read, as well as worship his gods. Although some people thought this new way of life was fine, Judah was not one of them. One day, as he was privately trying to read the stories his forefathers read in a dark cave, King Antiochus' royal advisor found out and confiscated them. Outraged, Judah stepped forward to challenge the king. Judah bravely led the Israelites against the more powerful armies of King Antiochius. The story is suddenly cut short when Didi asks Minka for her help making latkes in the kitchen. Boris, who is asleep on the couch, awakens when he hears about the latkes, and explains how much he loves Chanukah. Angelica is glad the story is over, and finds for the remote control so that she can watch A Very Cynthia Christmas, unaware that Spike is sitting on it.

In the kitchen, Didi is cooking latkes, and Chaz questions why people make latkes out of potatoes. Didi explains to him that on Chanukah, the Jewish people fry them as well as donuts to remind them of the oil used in the miracle of the first Chanukah. Boris then explains that the true miracle is how long he's survived since the latkes have obstructed his family's arteries for over two millenia. As he eats a latke, Chaz teaches about how his play of the meaning of Chanukah at the synagogue made the front page. Boris is outraged when he finds out that his lifelong rival, Shlomo, has his picture in the paper. When Didi tries to tell Chaz that Boris and Shlomo were friends as children, Boris told us that Shlomo managed to outdo him at all they did together, including staring his own successful business. Minka explains Didi that the real meaning of Chanukah is if Boris and Shlomo manage to do the play without killing each other.

In the living room, Phil and Lil complain about the taste of the chocolate coins and toy dreidels, and Tommy explains them that it's not even the weirdest part. He considers them and Chuckie about how Didi and Minka are making latkes at dinner, and the menorah on top of the television. Tommy explains the group that even though he's unsure what it is, he does know that every night, he has to wear a funny hat while Boris explains things he don't understand and Didi lights another candle. Afterwards, he gets a present, such as a clown pillow he saw Chuckie, which scares him. Phil and Lil believe that every is now Tommy's birthday, meaning he's now an adult who has to get a job. Tommy explains the twins that he never look any older, but the twins explain him that maybe it's because he is not blowing candles out yet. Tommy tries to do so, when Angelica walks in, having found the remote control. The babies explain to her that they're trying to blow out Tommy's birthday candles, but Angelica explains him that the candles are not for Tommy's birthday, they're for Chanukah. Chuckie asks Angelica what Chanukah is, and Angelica explains him and the other babies that Chanukah takes place in between Thanksgiving and Christmas, when all the best holiday specials air on television, one of which, A Very Cynthia Christmas, she is planning to watch.

In the basement, Stu is working on a giant mechanical menorah for the Synagogue, which Lou objects to. Stu tells Lou that he wants Tommy to be proud of his Jewish heritage, and to prove to Didi that he is very supportive of Chanukah. Lou warns Stu that he might be overdoing it, but Stu is determined to prove him wrong by turning the menorah on, which causes a power surge just as Angelica is about to watch the television. When Minka sees this and asks what's going on, Didi tells her about the menorah Stu is building for the play, which she wishes is not inappropriate. At first, Stu's menorah seems to be working just fine, but soon goes faster and faster until it explodes. Didi passes by the basement door and tells Stu and Lou it's time to go to the synagogue, but Stu tells her to go ahead and he'll meet her there as soon as he can as Lou tries to put out the fire in the basement.

Meanwhile, as Angelica is delighted to hear that A Very Cynthia Christmas will be coming on after Santa vs. The Alien, Boris complains about Shlomo, who is being cast as King Antiochus, explaining that he did that specifically to kill him with his sword. Didi then walks up to Angelica and cuts the television, telling her it's time to go to the synagogue to watch Boris' play of the Meaning of Chanukah. Angelica is refused to go to the synagogue to see the play, as all she wants is to watch A Very Cynthia Christmas. The babies overhear Boris complain about the meaning of Chanukah, and believe Shlomo to be the "Meanie of Chanukah". Chuckie empathizes with Boris, as he once had to play with a meanie at daycare, who made him lick a slide, hung him from the monkey bars, and put a worm on his head. Tommy upsets if Shlomo will do that to Boris, but Chuckie explains him that an adult meanie will do much worst things.Tommy asks Chuckie what happened to the meanie at daycare, and Chuckie explains him that the teacher dug him out of the sand and made them both take a nap. This gives Tommy an idea; they should put the Meanie down for a nap of his own, but Chuckie objects to this idea.

When the babies and their parents arrive at the synagogue, Angelica asks Didi if there's a television in there. Tommy then asks Phil and Lil if they have what they need for their plan, and the twins hinted that they brought the pillow, a blanket, and a flashlight. Tommy explains the twins that the Meanie is going down.

The Synagogue is filled with many Chanukah-related activities, including driedels available for sale, a photoshoot of Judah kicking King Antiochus, and a latke contest. Angelica tells Cynthia that they might be unable to see A Very Cynthia Christmas tonight, but at least they can still have latkes for dinner. When Angelica tastes a latke, she hates the taste, explaining that latkes should not be made from potatoes. She tosses her latke on the floor, causing a man dressed like a dreidel to slip on it. She then runs off to look for a television to watch A Very Cynthia Christmas on.

Backstage, the Rabbi explains the cast and crew that since Fred King is ill, Lowell Armstein will be playing the part of the Village Kvetch. Lowell is outraged, believing that he would be playing the part of King Antiochus. The Rabbi tells Lowell he told him he'd be replacing Mr. King. Lowell explains the Rabbi that he prepared a monologue with music. The Rabbi then realizes that Stu was supposed to come with the menorah, but now he's running late. As it it turns out, Stu managed to land himself right in the middle of a Christmas parade.

As Boris and Shlomo start to bicker with each other, Angelica comes to an altar, which she mistakes for an entertainment complex. The Rabbi asks her if she'd like to know more about the Torah. Angelica tries to ask him if he knows where she can find a television, when she suddenly sees a small television on a janitor's cart. The Rabbi tries to ask Angelica about the Torah when Angelica runs after the janitor's cart. Angelica soon runs into the man in the driedel costume when he exits the men's restroom, who explains her that she broke his shin. Angelica tries to apologize, but the man takes her to the nursery as a punishment where she cannot cause any trouble.

At the auditorium, the babies cannot find the Meanie of Chanukah, even though they've see everywhere. The play begins, and the babies find Shlomo attacking Boris. They rush onto the stage to try to stop Shlomo, much to Didi's shock.

Angelica tries unsuccessfully to escape from the nursery, where Didi drops the babies off,  misunderstanding what's gotten into them, and handing them off to Ester, the nursery's manager. Ester tells her not to worry, and to go enjoy the rest of the play. Angelica asks the babies why they're there, and the babies regard her they tried to save Boris from the Meanie of Chanukah by putting the latter down for a nap, but their parents would not let them. This gives Angelica an plan. She explains the babies that the only thing that succeeds in putting a grown-up down for a nap is a television, since Lou always falls asleep in front of one, and she knows where one is.

Meanwhile, as Boris and Shlomo continue acting in the play, Boris inadvertently manages to gasps Shlomo, resulting in a kosher fight between the two. The Rabbi cuts the play short for an intermission with another verse from the women of the senior choir.

Back at the nursery, with Ester distracted with a diaper change, the babies manage to help Angelica escape. As this happens, Boris and Shlomo continue arguing with each other. Shlomo explains Boris that he's sick of hearing about his children and grandchildren, when Boris explained that he'd be proud of his own children and grandchildren if he had any, but he was too busy with his special business. A shocked Shlomo explains Boris that his late wife, Sadie, was not blessed with children, and his business was all he had to fall back on. He explains Boris that he does not want to be King Antiochus anymore, and hands him his crown, which Boris hands to Lowell. After the women of the senior choir finish their song, Lowell rushes onstage and recites some poetry he wrote.

Inside the Janitor's closet, the Janitor falls asleep from watching a small television, which Angelica takes from him so she can watch the remaining minutes of A Very Cynthia Christmas. As Tommy tries to take the television so he can stop the Meanie of Chanukah, Angelica takes it away from him and tells him that she and Cynthia have some catching up to do. Tommy asks Angelica how they're supposed to stop the Meanie of Chanukah now, and as Angelica tries to tell Tommy that there is no Meanie of Chanukah, she runs into Shlomo backstage, causing her to drop the television and it shatters on the floor. The babies follow Angelica, then hide when they see Shlomo. Angelica cries over the broken television, and Shlomo tries to calm her down, but breaks the television even more, causing Angelica to cry even harder. The babies see Shlomo picking up Angelica, trying to calm her down, and believe he's being mean to her. Phil tries to scare Shlomo away by using Tommy's pillowcase and pretend to be a ghost, but ends up running into a table part. Tommy then has an idea; since Boris always falls asleep after hearing a story, he's going to try to read the story of Chanukah to Shlomo. The babies run up to Shlomo, and he's unknown what they want. Boris does, and tells Shlomo they want him to read the rest of the story. Shlomo tells Boris that since he's Tommy's grandfather, he should read the story, but Boris insists that Shlomo do it.

Shlomo picks up where Minka left off, where Judah defeated and exiled King Antiochus and won the right for his people to live and learn in the way of their forefathers, but the land of Israel was in ruins after the war. When he and his friends came to their menorah, they found it broken and its flame put out. Shlomo then talks to the babies that a menorah is like the nightlight of the Jewish people, shining on the whole world in times of darkness to remind them not to be afraid to be different and to be proud of who they are. Boris is impressed, and explains to the babies that the menorah is filled with oil to make it burn. Shlomo earns that some people use candles in their menorahs. Boris then continues the story, explaining that although the Israelites repaired their temple, the Greeks only left them enough oil to burn in the menorah for one night, but they lit the menorah anyway. Since it would take eight days to add more oil, the Israelites needed a miracle, and they got one, where eight days passed and the flame was still burning. So every year, the Jewish people light a menorah to remember the miracle of Chanukah. Shlomo falls asleep, and Tommy is delighted that his plan worked.

As Lowell continues his poetry, Stu arrives with the menorah. The Rabbi tells him to go on, and not bother about Lowell. Didi is worried, and rightfully so when the menorah explodes, causing the curtains to collapse, seeing Boris, Shlomo, and the babies backstage. Minka tells Didi to look, and Boris wakes Shlomo up. Shlomo finishes the play and tells everyone he wishes the children of the Jewish people will continue to carry on this ancient tradition for generations to come. Boris and Shlomo then say a Jewish prayer and sing in Hebrew together. Chuckie explains Tommy that Boris and the Meanie can get along with each other, and Tommy explains him about the Miracle of Chanukah. Boris and Shlomo continue singing as the episode ends.



  • When Angelica is talking about her show, she calls it "The Cynthia Christmas Extraganza Special", but the television voiceover calls it "A Very Cynthia Christmas".
  • Susie never appears on this episode due to her non-Jewish black ancestry.
  • The music in this episode was done by the Zion senior choir, who sing in both the title card and the credits. They also appear in the episode as a women's choir who perform Chanukah songs when there is a intermission during the Chanukah play.
  • This special marks the first of the "revival era" episodes.
  • The "menorah" that Schlomo puts the oil on is a "Hanukkiah". The difference between the two is that a menorah is a seven-branch candle holder (the one in the temple scenes is a menorah), and a Hanukkiah is a nine-branch candle holder.
  • This is the first episode not to use the regular title card. Instead, in this episode, there is a blue "Chanukah" in a black background with sacred music.
  • This episode is the first of the new episodes of Rugrats, made after the Rugrats show ended production in 1994 with the "Passover" episode airing as the last. Episodes after "Passover" are made by Nickelodeon.
    • 1 year, 7 months, and 3 weeks after the recent episode.
  • According to the Unofficial Rugrats Online, when Stu and Grandpa end up being in the holiday parade, "Let It Snow" originally played in the background. In 1999, they changed the background music to "Deck The Halls" due to copyright issues with the original music.
  • This is the fourth half-an-hour episode of the series after "Tommy's First Birthday", "The Santa Experience" and "Passover".
  • The animation in this special is noticeably different from previous and subsequent Rugrats episodes. The style is shown to be somewhat darker, with realistic shadowing effects and faster movements, very similar to Klasky-Csupo's other series at the time, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, or the later seasons of All Grown Up! Additionally, for the remainder of the series, Boris' eyes are now redesigned, as being shown with sclera around his pupils instead of just being pupils as in prior episodes, and Phil is also now drawn with earlobes.
  • The music and some character's voices are noticeably different from recent episodes, this difference is heard from Season 4 on wards, with the exception of Lou Pickles until early Season 5 when Joe Alaskey took over after David Doyle's passing. This is also the final episode Denis M. Hannigan co-scored with Mark Mothersbaugh; for subsequent episodes, Mark's brother Bob Mothersbaugh (and occasionally Rusty Andrews) would be Mark's co-composer.
  • This is Lou Pickles' first speaking role since "Spike Runs Away".
  • This episode makes a triumphant return to Nickelodeon on December 3, 2018 as part of 25 Ways to Holiday.
  • This episode re-aired on Nicktoons during 25 Days of Nickmas 2020.
  • Material from this episode is slated to be adapted for the storybook A Rugrats Chanukah: The Classic Illustrated Storybook.
  • Along with other Rugrats episodes featuring Boris and his wife, the special attracted controversy when the Anti-Defamation League compared the character designs to anti-Semitic drawings from a 1930's Nazi newspaper.



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