“Hey, you got your Thanksgiving on my Hanukkah.”
“No, you got your Hanukkah on my Thanksgiving.”
Calm down, kids. This week has sort of a Halley’s Comet feel to it because a special event is upon us. We haven’t seen anything like it since 1888 and we won’t see it again for 77,798 years. Rejoice, everyone, and get ready to celebrate “Thanksgivukkah.”
Thanksgiving and the first full day of Hanukkah fall on the same day this year, November 28. The two holidays can cuddle up together nicely, as the major theme underlying both of them is the giving of thanks. For many Jewish Americans, this 2013 holiday mashup offers a terrific chance to be really creative with food and decorations.
Where Did the Term “Thanksgivukkah“ Come From?
Inspiration struck Dana Gitell, a marketing specialist from Massachusetts, right around Thanksgiving 2012. She’d been looking ahead on a calendar and noticed that Hanukkah and Thanksgiving fell on the same day in 2013. Musing about that event while commuting to work, she wondered what such a holiday would be called. Then the light bulb went off.
“By the time I got to work, I had thought of ‘Thanksgivukkah,’” Gitell told JewishBoston.com. “And by that night, I had registered the URL, a Facebook page and a Twitter account.” She has also trademarked the term and is selling t-shirts and cards designed just for this holiday. Ten percent of the proceeds will go to MAZON, a charity which fights hunger in America and Israel.
Sadly, this confluence of holidays will happen only once in several generations. Why will it take so long for the two holidays to coincide again? The explanation is a bit complicated.
“The simplest way to look at it is that the Jewish calendar is slowly moving forward,” according to NPR’s Keith Devlin. “Roughly it moves forward about four days every thousand years. So this is pretty slow. And that’s why it would take maybe 70,000 or 80,000 years before this thing cycles all the way around again and hits Thanksgiving again.”
How About a Menurkey, Everyone?
Hanukkah always brings the opportunity to find some fun and unique menorahs to celebrate the Festival of Lights. An enterprising 9-year-old from New York named Asher Weintraub may have come up with the best Thanksgiving-related menorah idea ever.
“When we were driving home from Florida after the holiday break last year, my mom told me that Hanukkah and Thanksgiving were going to be on the same day this year,” Asher told thanksgivukkahboston.com. “So I thought, ‘What if there was a menorah in the shape of a turkey?’ Then I asked if there already was one, and mommy looked it up and found nothing, so we decided we would try to make it.”
“After a few days of the campaign, it was pretty clear it had taken flight,” said Asher’s father, Anthony Weintraub. “Initially it was just our friends who responded, but soon the idea had a life of its own. We got a lot of attention on social media and in the press right away. And happily, there was no skepticism or cynicism around the project. It’s been nothing but encouragement.”
According to ABC News, Asher has sold thousands of Menurkeys this year. He’s is going to donate a portion of the proceeds to charity and possibly use the rest to buy himself a 3D printer. This savvy kid has more ideas to work on, after all.
On Thanksgivukkah, the Food Choices are Unbeatable
Looking for some unique recipes that will appropriately represent both holidays? Think pumpkin challah bread, chocolate acorn dreidels and cranberry latkes, for starters. Good ideas are all over the Internet. Check out these lists to get your dinner menu planning started:
- Buzzfeed’s List of 9 Original Thanksgivukkah Recipes
- Delish.com’s “Thanksgivukkah! Recipes for the Hybrid Holiday“
- The New York Times’ “Holidays Holding Hands“
- PBS’s “Thanksgivukkah Recipes: Once-in-a-Lifetime Holiday“
- NPR’s “Thanksgivukkah: A Mash of Two Holidays That’s Easy to Relish“
- Nosh.on.it’s “Thanksgivukkah: Our Ideal Menu Mashup“
- Huffington Post’s “Have a Vegan-Inspired Thanksgivukkah“
Now you’re all set. Unless you’re planning to live until the year 79,811, you get one shot at this dinner party, everyone. Pull out all the stops and make it an event to remember. Happy Thanksgivukkah to all!
Photo credit: Thinkstock