Happy “Thanksgivukkah!” This year, while many Americans are celebrating Thanksgiving, American Jews will be celebrating Hanukkah as well. This Thanksgiving and Hanukkah is a very special one. A once in a life-time event actually. The next time Thanksgiving and Hanukkah will share the same date will be more than 75,000 years from now! In the year 79811 to be exact.
The holiday of Thanksgiving is celebrated differently from family to family or region to region. Traditionally, Thanksgiving has been a day of thanking ones creator, or God, for all that he or she has been provided with. This time is spent with family and friends eating, praying, or watching football. This holiday is generally family oriented and is centered around giving thanks.
Hanukkah is not a “mainstream” holiday. It is safe to assume that many people outside of the Jewish religion are not too familiar with Hanukkah. Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday that lasts for eight days. This holiday celebrates the “triumph of light over darkness, of purity over adulteration, of spirituality over materiality,” according to Chabad.org . According to the site , the Greeks tried to Hellenize the Jewish people, but a group of individuals, called the Maccabees, defeated the Greeks and reclaimed the holy temple. When they, the temple priests, went to light the temple menorah (candelabrum), there was only enough oil to last one day, but the oil burned for eight days. From the miraculous events that took place over twenty-one centuries ago, Hanukkah customs include eating fried foods, playing the dreidel, and lighting a menorah.
Both Thanksgiving and Hanukkah are centered around thanking God, or ones creator, so it seems logical to celebrate these two special holidays together this year, as this is the only time in ones lifetime one will be able to do so. Since “Thanksgivukkah” is such a special day, try to make this Thanksgiving/Hanukkah a special one this year. Try something new!
The Interfaith Family website provides an amazing document that explains what exactly Hanukkah is and why it is celebrated. This booklet provides the history of Hanukkah, the blessings of Hanukkah, the foods traditionally eaten during Hanukkah, and it explains, how to play the traditional Hanukkah game, Dreidel. This booklet is sure to provide its reader with new ideas to celebrate this special holiday this year. Also visit the Thanksgivukkah website for great ideas on how to blend both Thanksgiving and Hanukkah together for a once-in-a-lifetime holiday.
Happy “Thanksgivukkah” everyone!