The Holiday Season is fast approaching. If you’re Jewish, hold onto your kippah because Hanukkah is less than a week away! But the American Jews object: “Thanksgiving is a only a few days away. Hanukkah is always around Christmas.”
Not this year, it isn’t. For the first time since 1888 and for the last time until the year 79,811 (almost 80,000 years in the future), Hanukkah and Thanksgiving overlap, and the first day of Hanukkah, typically the biggest night of celebration, family, and gastronomical delight falls the night before Thanksgiving (All you Jewish foodies out there: now would be a great time to put away that scale). So, when you see a Jewish friend over break, surprise them with your worldliness and knowledge by greeting them with a “Happy Thanksgivukkah!”
How did this unlikely overlap come to be? The lunar Jewish calendar places Hanukkah on the 25th of Kislev (the 12th month), while Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday of November. Every so often (or, more accurately, not so often) the 12th month of the lunar calendar will shift into the 11th month of the Gregorian calendar. Hence, Thankgivukkah.
So when you’re out shopping for turkey and stuffing this year, be sure to grab some latkes with cranberry sauce, and get ready to talk about what you’re grateful for around the light of the Menorah, because this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Here are a few ways to successfully blend the two food-related, family-oriented holidays:
- Pumpkin-flavored Sufganiyot (see examples here and here)
- Maneshevitz(Kosher wine)-brined Turkey
- Playing dreidel with chocolate turkeys instead of gelt (chocolate gold coins)
- “Menurkeys,” or Menorahs shaped liked turkeys!
- Creating a playlist of the wonderful, albeit slightly cheesy, Thanksgivukkah songs that have popped up all over the internet over the past few weeks. My favorites are “Oil” (parody of “Royals”), “The Thanksgivukkah Song: Dish Nation,” and “The Ballad of Thanksgivukkah”.
But when all is said and done, it’s not just food, music, or wide range of commercial products that will make for an enjoyable Thankgivukkah. Both holidays emphasize being grateful for the blessings in life, big and small. They are times for families to gather and simply enjoy each other’s company, whether by watching a football game together or opening presents.
Regardless of whether or not you are Jewish, take time this Thanksgivukkah to do some good. Buy a present for someone who’s been having a rough week. Volunteer at a charity for a day. Apologize after an argument, even if you still think you’re right. College students, be sure to spend time with your family even though all of your friends are home too. After all, what better way to celebrate such an extraordinary occasion than by going that extra step. You won’t get another chance like this for over 80,000 years!
Happy Thanksgivukkah everyone!