Thanksgivukkah. Yes, a once-in-a-life time occurrence, and we are all lucky to bear witness to this unusual set of observances. Actually, it is more rare than something that only comes along once in a lifetime. So that makes us extra lucky! Get your lottery tickets now.
The convergence of Thanksgiving and the first day of Hanukkah hasn’t happened in 125 years and won’t happen again for 70,000 – or more – years because of how the Jewish calendar is based on the solar and lunar cycles.
So, now that you have an opportunity to experience Thanksgivukkah, here are a few ideas, from Daniel Burke, Belief Blog Co-editor.
Eight ways to celebrate Thanksgivukkah
By Daniel Burke, Belief Blog Co-editor
(CNN) – Break out the menurkeys and sweet potato latkes, people, it’s time to celebrate Thanksgivukkah, a once-in-a-lifetime holiday.
Dana Gitell, a 37-year-old marketing manager for a Jewish nonprofit in Massachusetts, is the mind behind the mashup “Thanksgivukkah.” (If you think that’s a mouthful, her other ideas were “Thanksgiving-ukkah” and “Hanukkahgiving,” both of which caused our spellchecker to sputter and die.)
We don’t know if the rabbis approve of everything on our list, because people are sorta going nuts. Must be that once-in-an-eon thing. But without further ado (and with a nod toward Adam Sandler’s “Eight Crazy Nights”), here are eight ways to celebrate Thanksgivukkah.
1. Light a menurkey
Leave it to a fourth-grader to create the ultimate Thanksgivukkah icon. He thought it would be really cool to have a menorah, the nine-branched candelabrum used to mark Hanukkah, in the shape of a turkey. Over 6,000 have already sold.
2. Make a nice Turbrisket
Let’s face it, Thanksgiving was getting pretty gonzo even before meeting Hanukkah. I mean, turducken? But Thanksgivukkah has taken meal mashups to a new level.
You’ve got your Turbrisket (turkey filled with brisket), your deep-fried turkey, your sweet potato latkes, your cranberry-stuffed knishes, your pumpkin kugel, your pecan pie rugelach, and so much more.
3. Deck the halls for the Challahday
This is another spot where people are getting really creative… making pumpkin menorahs, Thanksgivukkah coloring books for kids, and table settings that mix and match Hanukkah and Thanksgiving themes.
4. Watch a really big dreidel spin down the streets of New York
To honor the confluence of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, Macy’s has created a 25-foot-tall, 21-foot-wide dreidel for its iconic parade. The “balloonicle” (part balloon, part vehicle) will spin just like a real dreidel, and it’s the first time the parade has included a Jewish symbol, according to Macy’s.
5. Party like it’s 165 BC (and 1621 CE)
Hanukkah, for those who need a refresher course, marks the miracle of the successful defense of the Jewish temple by the Maccabees, an army of Jewish rebels, against the Goliath-like Syrian-Greek army in 165 BC.
One day’s supply of oil somehow lit the temple’s menorah for eight days, and the rest is history.
The Jewish event and the Pilgrims’ arrival in America are both celebrations of religious freedom, says Sherry Kuiper.
6. Kvetch about Thanksgivukkah
Okay, this one isn’t exactly about celebrating.
But it must be acknowledged, some folks just aren’t into the Thanksgivukkah spirit.
Thanksgiving was one of the few holidays on which interfaith families didn’t have to explain to the kids “why mom believes this and dad believes that,” argues Allison Benedikt in a recent Slate column.
“I cannot tell you what a relief it is to have this one major holiday—the best one!—that isn’t in some part about what I am and my husband is not (Jewish), or what he is and I’m not (Christmas-celebrating),” Benedikt says. (And for just the record, sweet and sour braised brisket with cranberry sauce is an abomination, she says.)
Jennie Rivlin Roberts, whose Judaica store, Modern Tribe, is selling Thanksgivukkah gear like hotcakes, says she understands some of the kvetching.
But a mashup of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah is so much better than the usual “December dilemma,” the overlap of the eight-day Jewish holiday and the cultural behemoth know as Christmas, Roberts says.
“With Thanksgivukkah, you’re not really mixing two religions, so you can really go for it. People may say it’s silly, and yeah, some of it is, but it’s also full of fun and joy.”
7. Watch a rap battle between a turkey and a dreidel
8. Watch a scary movie about stereotypes