It hasn't happened since 1888 — and it won't happen again for another 79,000 years. But it is happening this year, and holiday goers are in for a once-in-a-lifetime treat.
Get ready for Thanksgivukah! This year, Hanukah and Thanksgiving merge to create one big festive holiday that some are calling Thanksgivukah (or Thanksgivukkah depending upon which spelling you prefer.) Hannukah begins at sundown on Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013, which means that the first full day of the Jewish holiday will be on Thanksgiving Day, 11/28/2013, a merger that hasn't happened in more than 100 years and won't happen again in our lifetimes.
The Thanksgivukah holiday has become fun fodder for marketing campaigns, leading to the creation of such items as sweet potato latkes and the "Menurkey." The "Menurkey" — pictured above — is the brainchild of Asher Weintraub, a 9-year-old from New York who decided that a menorah in the shape of a turkey would be the best way to commemorate this auspicious convergence of holidays. With help from his filmmaker parents, Asher funded his project with a successful fundraising campaign on Kickstarter, and now hopes to sell as many as 2,500 "Menurkeys" this holiday in both ceramic (for $150) and plaster ($50). Check out the Menurkey.com website for more info on Asher's design and info about how to order.
So how did this holiday mash-up happen anyhow? It is partly due to the nature of the Jewish calendar, which does not correspond on a consistent basis with the Gregorian or Christian calendar, and the Thanksgiving holiday moves around too. It was once celebrated on the last Thursday of November but was officially designated as the fourth Thursday in 1863 for the sole purpose of making the holiday shopping season longer. For a more specific overview of how Thanksgivukah came to be, check out this website.
As you can imagine, the Thanksgivukkah holiday is fun fodder for comedians, too. Check out this sketch from Stephen Colbert entitled, "Thanksgiving Under Attack."
Dana Gitell, a community specialist for Boston's elder-care provider Hebrew SeniorLife, trademarked the term "Thanksgivukah" last year when she saw the convergence coming. She has since started a Thanksgivukah Facebook page and is promoting a line of Thanksgivukkah commemorative items, including a T-shirt with the catchphrase "8 Days of Light, Liberty and Latkes."
So whether you plan to spin the dreidel or indulge in just one more serving of brisket and gravy, I do hope you have a wonderful day and a very Happy Thanksgivukah!
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