How Blazers are mixing two important traditions
It's Thursday night. Your family is gathered around a table, smiling and chatting, and the food smells marvelous. The table is set with steaming sweet potatoes, bowls of stuffing, a glistening golden turkey, and in the center of the table is your old family menorah, candles cheerfully flickering. That Thanksgivukkah spirit is in the air.
This probably doesn't sound familiar. Thanksgiving is always reserved for November, and Hannukah is usually sometime in mid to late December. The two holidays are typically weeks apart. But this year, for the first time in more than a hundred years, Thanksgiving falls on the first full night of Hannukah.
Or, rather, the second night of Hannukah falls on Thanksgiving, because of the way the Jewish calendar works. The Jewish calendar is based on the cycles of the moon instead of the sun, which means that it has shorter months and even a leap month every few years. The months therefore don't start or end on the same days as those of the Gregorian calendar that we use, and their New Year is sometime around September. So Hanukkah is always on the same date, but only according to the Jewish calendar, on the 25th of Kislev. According to the much more widely used Gregorian calendar, Hanukkah jumps around, sometimes on Christmas, sometimes in early December, and, sometimes in November. This means that it's rare enough Thanksgiving falls on Hannukah at all, but even rarer that Thanksgiving falls exactly on the first full day of Hanukkah. So rare, in fact, that Thanksgivukkah won't happen again for 70,000 years.
Thanksgiving, unlike many other holidays, is not religious. It's American, so a great variety of people can celebrate it, regardless of their beliefs or background. "Even the most orthodox Jews celebrate Thanksgiving," agrees Grossman. It's simply a good opportunity to spend time with family and friends. So whether you decided to postpone the dreidel-playing or you ate turkey alongside latkes, Thanksgiving is a great time to give thanks for the things that are most important.
Sarah Trunk. Hello! I'm Sarah, and I'm one of the managing editors for SCO this year. I like writing about things and reading mystery novels. Enjoy our site! More »
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