Every year it feels as though the holidays come earlier and earlier, blurring the muted brown and orange of Thanksgiving, with the vibrant green and red of Christmas. This year the turkey line is not only blurred, but outright shared with the blue and silver colors of Hanukkah, for an event that last happened when Grover Cleveland was president – the first time.
The phenomenon that is Thanksgivukkah will occur this year on Nov. 28, when both Thanksgiving and Hanukkah converge into one big mega-holiday. This combination of festivities has not happened since 1888.
The rarity of this conjoined holiday can be attributed to the conflicting Hebrew and Gregorian calendars. The two separate methods of time measurement are turning in such a way that the next Thanksgivukkah isn't calculated to happen again for another 77,798 years.
Though Hanukkah is traditionally celebrated closer to Christmas, the basis for the Jewish Holiday coincides with Thanksgiving's over-arching message much better. Both are known for celebrating a type of religious freedom. The Pilgrims are celebrated at Thanksgiving for their journey to the New World to worship as they wished. The Jews celebrate Hanukkah to commemorate the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after they successfully fought back against Syrian attempts to suppress the faith in 168 B.C., NationalGeographic.com explains.
Rabbi Tzvi Freeman compared the two holidays side-by-side in a post on his web site Chabad.org. Thanksgiving is "a narrative about an arduous journey to escape religious persecution for freedom in a new land, the establishment of a democratic charter and the sense of Divine providence that carried those refugees through their plight" Freeman wrote.
"That's Chanukah, as well," he continued, using a different spelling for the holiday which means the same thing. "A narrative deeply embedded in the collective Jewish psyche of how we fought back against religious oppression in our own land, earned our freedom and thanked God for the miracles."
Thanksigivukkah was actually coined by Boston Native Dana Gitel in 2012 when she was trying to figure out ways to link the two holidays for a social media campaign at the elderly care agency where she worked.
"There are so many interesting and playful cultural juxtapositions that come to mind," she told Reuters News.
Many Jewish Americans are embracing the super-holiday with pumpkin latkes, a signature Hanukkah potato pancake and "menurkys," a turkey shaped menorah invented by 9-year-old Brooklyn native Asher Weintraub, who has sold more than 1,500 of the festive gadgets.
"This is one of those rare opportunities where people hear about Thanksgivukkah and stop and say, 'What is that?' and pay attention," Yeshiva University business professor Charlie Harary told Businessweek.com of the hype surrounding the holiday.
Though infringement on the Turkey continues, this year it's more welcome mostly because it's giving many Jewish families a chance celebrate the Jewish holiday that normally is a minor holiday in their faith on the religious calendar.
"This is one of the very few times we are celebrating Hanukkah with extended family from out of town," Mark Chaet, told the Orlando Sentinel. He said because Hanukkah is a week-long celebration he and his extended family are usually unable to join together to celebrate and join in the festivities. "We often have 20 or more people for Thanksgiving, but this will be the first time for Hanukkah," Chaet explained.
But not everyone is happy about the colliding of the two events. Allison Benedikt, a columnist for Slate, said she fears her children will now come to view Thanksgiving, a holiday about appreciation, as just another time to expect gifts.
"[W]hile Thanksgivukkah is a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence, I guarantee that every little Jewish boy and girl who gets a gift on Thursday will, going forward, expect gifts on the fourth Thursday of November—forever," she wrote in a Sunday post.