Actually, it doesn’t change how either holiday is celebrated, but as rare events go, it makes the passage of Halley’s comet look like small potatoes.
The last time the confluence of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah happened was 1888. This year it occurs Nov. 28, which is the second night of the eight-day Hanukkah celebration.
The next time it will occur? Hold on to your dreidels: By some calculations, it won’t be for another 79,043 years, thanks to disparities between the Hebrew and Gregorian calendars.
So this will be the nation’s final chance to celebrate “Thanksgivukkah” for quite a spell.
Turkey and Latkes
That leaves some folks in the Jewish community wondering whether they should make latkes out of sweet potatoes (many do) and dress them up with cranberry relish.
“The confluence of the two holidays is not really a huge deal,” said Rabbi Adam Morris, who leads Temple Micah in Denver’s Park Hill neighborhood. “We’ll light the candles and have some fun desserts, like pumpkin doughnuts fried in oil.”
Asked about his own Thanksgiving food traditions, Morris laughed. “Eating a lot of it,” he said.
“We always do turkey,” Morris said. “Sometimes baked, sometimes smoked, sometimes deep-fried, depending on where we are.”
Morris has friends in the area who own a horse farm.
“That’s where we’re going out to,” he said. “We’ll make a day of it. Ride the horses and cook the food.”
The whole notion of “Thanksgivukkah” has been pushed by a number of commercial outlets, notably the good folks at Manischewitz, which sells kosher products such as gravies, matzoh and wine. The Manischewitz campaign got underway a few weeks ago, complete with a ton of social-media outlets and an estimated budget ranging from $2.5 million to $3 million.
So Many Festivities
Alice Alban, a member of the Temple Micah congregation, will celebrate the start of Hanukkah on Wednesday night, lighting the first of the menorah’s eight candles, then switch into full-blown Thanksgiving mode on Thursday.
“It makes it a little more fun because lots of festivities are going on,” she said. “We’ll do turkey, stuffing, potatoes, cranberry sauce and vegetables.”
Will Alban bake a pie? “I’m not a pie baker,” she said. “I’m a pie eater.”
Alban enjoys both holidays and the people they bring together.
“Hanukkah is a great holiday,” she said. “It doesn’t really revolve around religion. It’s a chance for families to be together and celebrate being in this country.”
Just like Thanksgiving.
Now if only Adam Sandler will come up with a Thanksgivukkah song.
William Porter can be reached at 303-954-1877, firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/williamporterdp.
“Hanukkah is a great holiday. It doesn’t really revolve around religion. It’s a chance for families to be together and celebrate being in this country.”
Member of Temple Micah