Holiday overlap spurs Thanksgivukkah

first_imgFacebook page created by the founder of “Thanksgivukkah”The “Ballad of Thanksgivukkah” as performed by the Kehillah Schechter Academy in Norwood, Mass.Light the candles and pass the white meat. Spin the dreidel and have at the cranberry sauce. Don your yarmulke, dip your crunchy latke in the creamy onion dip and catch some football.Thursday is Thanksgiving Day, a modern American national holiday, and it’s also the first full day of Hanukkah, an ancient Hebrew religious one. Thanks to the vagaries of modern Gregorian and ancient Hebrew calendars, the two holidays have lined up only for the second time ever, and for what’s just about the last time ever, too — as far as we’re concerned.The next time Hanukkah and Thanksgiving overlap in this way will be in the year 79,043. The first time was in 1888. That was 25 years after Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday, in 1863.The joyous Jewish holiday of Hanukkah celebrates the unlikely victory of a small band of Maccabees over the Syrian King Antioch in the year 165 B.C., the subsequent rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and, chiefly, the miracle that occurred during that rededication, as one night’s worth of oil burned for eight nights. Because of that, Hanukkah is known as the “festival of lights” and involves lighting a menorah candle on each of the eight nights of the holiday — plus a ninth central candle.Thanksgiving, meanwhile, grew from many prayerful harvest celebrations held all over the New World across several centuries. Any claim that a 1621 gathering in Plymouth, Mass., was the “First Thanskgiving” is more the stuff of legends than anything concrete — but don’t tell a zillion American schoolchildren who’ve worn turkey hats and feathers while performing a ritual of politeness.last_img