Traditionally, we associate the eight days of Hanukkah with Christmastime, if for no other reason than the fact that the two holidays typically fall within the same time-frame on the calendar. Not this year folks. If you didn’t already know, the first day of Hanukkah will coincide with Thanksgiving, yielding a Thanksgivukka celebration rather than a Christmukka one. For foodies, this means some significant changes to the Thanksgiving dinner menu, but the convergence of the two major holidays has more profound implications, most notably the fact that ‘Hanu-giving’ or ‘Thansgivukka’ is an extremely rare occurrence.
History buffs and math geeks, here comes the fun part….1888 –the last time this epic convergence occurred since Thanksgiving was declared a federal holiday. 79,433 –the exact number of years until the next Thanksgiving and Hanukka collision, which to be precise would be the year 81,056. Since we aren’t numbers people here at ShoreBread, we won’t even attempt to explain the science behind those calculations, or the cross-referencing of the Gregorian calendar with the Hebrew calendar, so you’re just going to have to take our word for it when we say it’s a very, very rare happening.
When we first caught wind of the Thanksgiving-Hannukkah mash-up, we immediately started throwing out names, but a quick Google search had our dreams dashed. Thanksgivukka has already taken the internet and pop culture by storm. T-shirts, cards, memes, gifts wrapping and pet clothing are just a few of the merchandise we stumbled upon. #dreidelsanddrumsticks? It may seem like a bit of an overkill, but it is a once in a lifetime occurrence after all…hence the common tagline, “Thanksgivukkah: a once in a lifetime holiday.”
As foodies, we rejoice at the notion of revamping our Thanksgiving menus to include Hanukkah delights. Sweet potato latkes? Pumpkin custard kugel? Challah stuffing? Pumpkin challah? Turkey-shaped challah? The list of recipes is endless (and that’s just on Pinterest!). If you love Hannukah, and you love Thanksgiving, and you love cooking, well this is your once-in-a-lifetime holiday blow-out…the holiday to beat all holidays! (can you tell we love food and the holidays??) For décor think of creating your own turkey menorah, a.k.a the menurkey.
Before you get completely carried away with your own Thanksgivukkah creations and concoctions, take a moment to remember why we celebrate both holidays. We’ll start with Thanksgiving. Like all holidays and celebrations, there is plenty of room for debate regarding historical accuracy and current practice, but I think we can all agree that across the board, Thanksgiving is a day of thanks. For most, Thanksgiving is that magical day of the year when we gather with loved ones and feast, feast, feast. So be sure to take a time-out from football or turkey noshing or rolling your eyes at your mother-in-law and give thanks for all that is wonderful in your life. Now, onto Hanukkah. Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the re-dedication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Hanuakkah is observed for eight days and nights and is observed by the kindling of lights on the nine branches of the Menorah. Much like Thanksgiving it is a time for family and celebration. So this year, double up on the turkey and latkes and give double the thanks for the holiday season. Happy Thanksgivukkah!