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Hanukkah and Thanksgiving Share Theme

thanksgivinukkah

We have enough trouble spelling Hanukkah-Chanukah, only to throw in another word scrambler Thanksgivukkah because the Jewish and secular calendars converge this year.  In the Hebrew calendar, which follows the sun and the moon, the festival of lights starts on the date of 25 Kislev, which officially starts at sunset before Thanksgiving.  On the Gregorian calendar, Thanksgiving sits on the fourth Thursday in November. The last time the two holidays coincided was 1888, 25 years after President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a holiday. This historical moment won’t happen again for another 77,798 years, so we might as well embrace the hybrid holiday by topping sweet potato latkes with cranberry applesauce and brining our turkey with Manischewitz.

It gets a little confusing, but at Thanksgiving feast you’ll light two candles on your menurkey, and your smorgasbord will blend the best of both traditions, although I’m not sure I can stomach pumpkin Sufganiot. Fortunately, a mashup of culinary concoctions can be found in one of my favorite foodie websites.

Actually, Hanukkah and Thanksgiving have more in common than any other holidays, and the significance goes beyond what’s on our plates.

Both the Maccabees and the Pilgrims escaped religious persecution for freedom in a new land, which can spark a juicy conversation at the table besides the extended hours of Black Friday. Think about it. The Pilgrims sought religious freedom in the New World, and the ancient Jews triumphed over Syrian-Greeks who banned the practice of Judaism.

Obviously, Jews and Americans have a history of oppression, and their arduous journeys teach us powerful lessons that are as relevant today as ever. Most of all, we thank God for miracles and our bounty of blessings.

So, the religious symbolism of Thanksgivukkah makes a lot more sense than “Chrismukkah,” which happens when Hanukkah occurs closer to Christmas in December and one really has nothing to do with the other.

Giving thanks is the theme for every Jewish holiday year round, and Thanksgivukkah is no exception.

And in case you’re wondering how to rhyme with Thanksgivukkah, click HERE for hysterical holiday tune.