Thanksgivukkah is a holiday name portmanteau neologism given to the convergence of the American holiday of Thanksgiving and the first day (and second night) of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah on Thursday, November 28, 2013. It was the result of a rare coincidence between the lunisolar Hebrew calendar (whose dates reflect both the moon phase and the time of the solar year, and which can have between 353 and 385 days per year) and the Gregorian calendar. Because the calendars are not calculated the same way, Hanukkah appears at a different time each year on the Gregorian calendar.
The term "Thanksgivukkah" was trademarked by Dana Gitell, a Boston-area resident who, along with her sister-in-law, Deborah Gitell, created a Facebook page and a Twitter account devoted to the phenomenon and bought the URL. Boston Magazine reported that the idea was popular all over the U.S.
There has been some disagreement about the name: the Manischewitz company, the country’s top producer of kosher food, has spelled the dual-holiday with one fewer "k" towards the end, as “Thanksgivukah”; and Israeli newspaper Haaretz posed the question: "Why 'Thanksgivukkah'? Why not 'Chanksgiving?'". Haaretz points to a clip from The O.C., the source of the portmanteau "Chrismukkah", as the basis of the "Thanksgivukkah" portmanteau.
Thanksgiving Day fell during Hanukkah at least twice between 1863 (when Thanksgiving was proclaimed a U.S. federal holiday by President Abraham Lincoln) and 2013: in 1888 Thanksgiving was the first day of Hanukkah, and in 1899 it was the fourth day. The 1888 coincidence of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah attracted some media attention at the time, with the New York Herald reporting on joint Thanksgiving–Hanukkah services held in "various synagogues" and a sermon given by Rabbi Frederick de Sola Mendes.
Thanksgiving occurred later in 1888 and 1899 than is possible under current U.S. law: as a result of changes between 1939 and 1941, Thanksgiving is always held on the fourth Thursday in November. The last time the fourth Thursday of November fell within Hanukkah before 2013 was in 1861, before Thanksgiving existed. As a result of this confusion, some media reports have mistakenly claimed that Thanksgivukkah had never occurred prior to 2013.
Because the Gregorian and Jewish calendars have slightly different average year lengths, over time they drift out of sync with each other. As a result of this, the first day of Hanukkah will not precede or coincide with Thanksgiving Day again in the foreseeable future. (One physicist has calculated that, if the Jewish calendar is not revised, Thursday, November 28 will not fall during Hanukkah again until the year 79811, once it has drifted all the way around the cycle of the Gregorian calendar and back to November. Many media sources have reported this "tongue-in-cheek" calculation as a serious estimate of the date of the next Thanksgivukkah.) However, since the Jewish day does not begin at midnight, but on the sunset before it, there will be two more years in which Hanukkah and Thanksgiving partially overlap, with the first night of Hanukkah beginning in the evening of Thanksgiving. These will be the evenings of Thursday, November 27, 2070 and Thursday, November 28, 2165. (The most recent such year was 1918.)
Mayor Thomas Menino of Boston said he would proclaim November 28, 2013, “Thanksgivukkah,” saying through a spokeswoman: "This is a big deal, a once-in-a-lifetime event.” Massachusetts State Representative Louis Kafka and local rabbi David Paskin planned to host a gathering close to Thanksgivukkah, that will include a turkey-shaped menorah to give to fellow representatives to put in the Massachusetts State House. U.S. President Barack Obama gave a speech likening the struggles of the Maccabees to those of the Pilgrims.
Macy's included a giant dreidel in its Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. The Dirty Sock Funtime Band wrote a song, "Hannukah, O Hannukah (Introducing the Menurkey!)", and included it in a show in New York City. A rabbi in Mineola, Long Island, granted a pardon to a kosher turkey in honor of Thanksgivukkah.
A Los Angeles-based festival co-produced by Deborah Gitell and singer/songwriter Craig Taubman was held on November 29, 2013, at the Pico Union building, featuring the Moshav Band and hip hop rapper Kosha Dillz. The festival was funded by a campaign on crowdfunding platform Jewcer. The Beth Tfiloh Congregation in Pikesville, Maryland, set off fireworks to celebrate Thanksgivukkah.
President Obama recognized Thanksgivukkah at the official White House Hanukkah reception on December 5, singling out Menurkey-creator Asher Weintraub as well as Dana and Deborah Gitell for coining the phrase "Thanksgivukkah".
Outside the United States, in London, England, the Saatchi Shul hosted a Thanksgivukka Friday night dinner. In Tel Aviv, Israel, Nefesh B'Nefesh co-hosted a Thanksgivukka Friday night dinner and clothing drive.
There have been parodies of it, by satirist Stephen Colbert and by satire news program Dish Nation. Comedian Yisrael Campbell starred in a fake movie trailer for a horror movie titled Happy Thanksgivukkah, where a gentile family's thanksgiving dinner is invaded by a large Jewish family celebrating Hannukah.
There has been opposition to the holiday on the ground that the syncretism trivializes both festivals. An Anti-Thanksgivukkah anthem was featured in Heeb Magazine and subsequently in The Jewish Daily Forward.
Numerous suggestions were publicly made for combinations of traditional dishes of both holidays. Buzzfeed posted "How to Celebrate Thanksgivukkah, the Best Holiday of All Time," with recipes for Manischewitz-brined turkey with challah apple stuffing and latkes with cranberry applesauce. Others focused on sweet potato latkes, latke-crusted turkey cutlets, stuffing a turkey with challah bread, pecan pie rugelach, turkey doughnuts, pumpkin kugel, sufganiyot filled or topped with a sweet cranberry or apple compote or canned pumpkin, and sweet potato, prune and carrot tzimmes.
Lower Manhattan restaurant Kutsher’s Tribeca announced that it would serve a three-course Thanksgivukkah dinner, including sweet potato latkes topped with melted marshmallows. The Manischewitz company launched a multimillion-dollar multimedia campaign in support of the holiday.
Chicago chef and 2013 Kosherfest honoree Laura Frankel, Executive Chef at Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership, curated a menu of Thanksgivukkah dishes that included culinary hybrids like pumpkin-spice latkes and turkey schnitzel with thyme and orange zest.
Products and shopping
Thanksgivukkah was characterized by products promoted on and sold online. Funds of over $48,000 to produce a turkey-shaped menorah, dubbed a "menurkey," were raised by nine-year-old Asher Weintraub in Manhattan, New York, via a Kickstarter campaign. A crafter in Seattle, Washington, created another Thanksgiving-inspired menorah after she saw a camel menorah and decided she needed a "Turkorah". Some suggested that the holiday shopping season would be impacted by the convergence, and that retailers might have earlier holiday promotions. A Thanksgivukkah pop-up store opened in Atlanta, and the Manischewitz company produced a line of products for this day.
Similarities between Thanksgiving and Hanukkah
While the imagery and products surrounding the day were light-hearted, advocates contended it had a broader significance resonant with American democracy. “There are amazing similarities between the Pilgrims’ quest for religious freedom and what the Maccabees were fighting for,” one advocate told the New York Daily News, referring to the Hanukkah story of Judah Maccabee, who led the Hebrews’ fight for freedom from and military victory over the Greeks in the 2nd century BC. “This a great opportunity for Jewish Americans to celebrate this country and for everyone to acknowledge the greatness of our shared religious freedoms.” In 1888, the New York Herald wrote that "The two festivals merged well together," describing Hanukkah as "a thanksgiving festival for deliverance from… tyranny". A "Thanksgivukkah Manifesto" has been penned, claiming that it is the ideal holiday for increasingly secular American Jews.
Chrismukkah is a portmanteau neologism referring to the merging of the holidays of Christianity's Christmas and Judaism's Hanukkah. The term was popularized by the TV drama The O.C. Chrismukkah is also celebrated as an ironic, alternative holiday. Similar neologisms such as Chrismahanukwanzakah and HanuKwanzMas blend Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. In "A Kosher Christmas: 'Tis the Season to Be Jewish" (Rutgers University Press, 2012), author Rabbi Joshua Eli Plaut discusses the phenomenon of hybrid Jewish holidays such as Chrismukkah during the December holiday season in the US, and the Americanization of Hanukkah and the holiday season for Jews.
- Deeparaya, a name for the combined Deepavali and Hari Raya festivals which are traditionally celebrated by Hindus and Muslims respectively in Malaysia and Singapore
- Kongsi Raya, a Malaysian portmanteau denoting the Chinese New Year and Hari Raya festivals
- Christine Byrne (October 2, 2013). "How To Celebrate Thanksgivukkah, The Best Holiday Of All Time". Buzzfeed. Retrieved October 10, 2013.
- Stu Bykofsky (October 22, 2012). "Thanks for Thanukkah!". Philadelphia Daily News. Retrieved October 11, 2013.
- אלכס דורון וצביקה קליין (October 11, 2013). "אירוע נדיר: חנוכה וחג ההודיה מתאחדים" (in Hebrew). Maariv. Retrieved October 11, 2013.
- Katy Steinmetz (November 1, 2013). "What Is Thanksgivukkah?". TIME. Retrieved November 1, 2013.
- Vicki Hyman (October 14, 2013). "Thanksgivukkah: New traditions for a Thanksgiving nosh". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved October 14, 2013.
- Molly Parr (September 30, 2013). "Four Questions with Jonathan Mizrahi, Jewish Calendar Math Whiz | Thanksgivukkah". Thanksgivukkahboston.com. Retrieved October 10, 2013.
- "WATCH: Stephen Colbert laments Thanksgivukkah". Haaretz. March 6, 2013. Retrieved October 11, 2013.
- Ben Popken (September 19, 2013). "Chanukah and Thanksgiving mash-up to create 'Thanksgivukkah'". TODAY. Retrieved October 11, 2013.
- Sharyn Jackson (March 11, 2013). "Thanksgivukkah pulls a chair up to the table". USA Today. Retrieved November 9, 2013.
- Molly Parr (September 30, 2013). "Four Questions with Dana Gitell, Creator of Thanksgivukkah.com". Thanksgivukkahboston.com. Retrieved October 10, 2013.
- Steve Annear (October 5, 2013). "Thanksgivukkah: Massachusetts Coins Term For Rare Holiday Celebration; Thanksgiving and Hanukkah won't fall on the same day for another 76,000 years, so people are making sure they celebrate with pride". Boston Magazine. Retrieved October 17, 2013.
- Stuart Elliot, "Carve the Turkey and Pass the Latkes, as Holidays Converge", The New York Times, October 21, 2013
- Kaplan, Allison (October 13, 2013). "Hanukkah occupies Thanksgiving: Colbert hates it, Jews love it". Haaretz. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
- Amy Spiro (November 17, 2013). "Thanksgivukka: Please pass the turkey-stuffed doughnuts". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved November 22, 2013.
- "Calendar for the 1918, with a list of Jewish holidays below it". Retrieved November 22, 2013.
- "Twin Festivals: A Memorable Day for the Hebrews of New York", New York Herald, November 30, 1888
- "Let's Celebrate the Convergence of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah".
- Levi Brackman (October 23, 2013). "American Jews ready for Thanksgivukkah". Ynetnews.com. Retrieved October 29, 2013.
- Justin Silverman (October 1, 2013). "When Chanukah and Thanksgiving fall on the same day, it's "Thanksgivukkah"". New York Daily News. Retrieved October 29, 2013.
- Gene Marks (November 10, 2013). "5 Reasons Why Thanksgiving Has Been Ruined For Millions Of Jews". Huffington Post. Retrieved October 11, 2013.
- Mizrahi, Jonathan (January 14, 2013). "Some of You May Find this Interesting...: Hanukkah and Thanksgiving: A once in eternity overlap". Jonathanmizrahi.blogspot.com. Retrieved November 9, 2013.
- Leanne Italie (October 8, 2013). "Gobble Tov! American Jews Ready for Thanksgivukkah". ABC News. Retrieved October 10, 2013.
- Caryn Ganeles (October 9, 2013). "What to Bring to Thanksgivukkah". Huffington Post. Retrieved October 10, 2013.
- Harkov, Lahav (October 3, 2013). "Thanksgivukkah's around the corner". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved October 10, 2013.
- Herb Scribner (October 9, 2013). "U.S. Jews readying for Thanksgivukkah". Deseret News. Retrieved October 10, 2013.
- Passy, Charles (October 3, 2013). "When Holidays Collide, You Get The 'Menurkey'". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved October 10, 2013.
- "Jewish and Gregorian calendars for the year 2070". Retrieved November 22, 2013.
- Ben Blatt (November 22, 2013). "Happy Valentinukkah's Day!". Slate. Retrieved November 22, 2013.
- "Jewish and Gregorian calendars for the year 1918". Retrieved November 22, 2013.
- "The marketing frenzy that is "Thanksgivukkah"". The Boston Globe. October 18, 2013. Retrieved October 19, 2013.
- David Jackson (November 27, 2013). "Obama sends Hanukkah greetings". USA Today. Retrieved December 5, 2013.
- "Dirty Sock Funtime Band to Perform Nov. 10 in New York City for Album Release & Thanksgivukkah Season Show". Broadway World. October 16, 2013. Retrieved October 18, 2013.
- "'Thanksgivukkah' fever hits the Southland". Los Angeles Daily News. October 23, 2013. Retrieved October 29, 2013.
- Shmulovich, Michal (February 23, 2011). "Thanksgivukkah: Watch, eat, groan". The Times of Israel. Retrieved November 17, 2013.
- Lowenfeld, Jonah (October 2, 2013). "Time to shop for Thanksgivukkah". Jewish Journal. Retrieved October 10, 2013.
- Scharper, Julie (November 16, 2013). "When turkey met latke: Thanksgivukkah is a once-in-a-lifetime celebration". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved November 16, 2013.
- "Remarks by the President at Afternoon Hanukkah Reception". December 5, 2013.
- Spiro, Amy (November 16, 2013). "Thanksgivukka: Please pass the turkey-stuffed doughnuts". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved November 16, 2013.
- Shamah, David (November 10, 2013). "The horror of Thanksgivukkah". The Times of Israel. Retrieved November 16, 2013.
- "Why I Will Not Be Celebrating 'Thanksgivukkah' | Rabbi Daniel Brenner". Huffington Post. November 5, 2013. Retrieved November 9, 2013.
- RSS (November 4, 2013). "Finally, An Anti-Thanksgivukkah Anthem!". Heeb. Retrieved November 9, 2013.
- "The Anti-Thanksgivukkah Anthem You've Been Waiting For – The Shmooze". The Forward. Retrieved November 9, 2013.
- Jessica Yadegaran (October 15, 2013). "Thanksgiv-ukkah plans?". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
- Joanna Prisco (November 7, 2013). "NYC Bakery Fries Up Thanksgivukkah Turkey Doughnuts". ABC News. Retrieved November 9, 2013.
- "Recipes for latke-crusted turkey cutlets and Meyer lemon applesauce". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on October 21, 2013. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
- Dana Holmes (October 22, 2013). "How to Plan Your Thanksgivukkah". Huffington Post. Retrieved October 29, 2013.
- "Thanksgivukkah specials: Hanukkah meets Thanksgiving". Time Out Chicago. November 5, 2013. Retrieved November 9, 2013.
- "Bakery creates a turkey doughnut for Thanksgivukkah". Fox News. November 7, 2013. Retrieved November 9, 2013.
- Adam Withnall (November 7, 2013). "New York bakery combines 'best' of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah by inventing the turkey and cranberry doughnut". The Independent. London. Retrieved November 9, 2013.
- name="Brian Zimmerman, "What to Eat On Thanksgivukkah", November 1, 2013
- Charles Passy (October 5, 2013). "Hanukkah-Thanksgiving mash-up: 'Thanksgivukkah'". MarketWatch. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
- Davidovich, Joshua (October 9, 2013). "US Jews ready for Thanksgivukkah". The Times of Israel. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
- Stephanie Butnick (August 21, 2013). "Ring in 'Thanksgivukkah' With a 'Menurkey'; Thanksgiving and Hanukkah overlap this year; accessorize accordingly". Tablet Magazine. Retrieved October 10, 2013.
- Ben Popken (October 11, 2013). "Hanukkah and Thanksgiving mashup to create 'Thanksgivukkah'". CNBC. Retrieved October 11, 2013.
- Nussbaum, Debra (October 13, 2014). "From menurkeys to T-shirts, Thanksgivukkah generates big bucks". Haaretz. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
- Kim Bhasin (October 11, 2013). "Get Ready For A Freaky-Deaky, Deal-Filled, Super-Early Holiday Shopping Frenzy". Huffington Post. Retrieved October 11, 2013.
- Doreen Christensen (October 13, 2013). "Toy shopping before Thanksgivukkah? Oy vey". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
- "Thanksgiving + Hanukkah = Thanksgivukkah ... and a Merchandising Blitz". Business Week. Retrieved November 16, 2013.
- Rabbi Mishael Zion, A Thanksgivukkah Manifesto, Huffington Post, retrieved November 5, 2014
- 2 Maccabees 10:6
- Seiglie, Mario (November 2011). "Is Thanksgiving Rooted in a Biblical Festival?". The Good News. United Church of God. Retrieved November 28, 2013.
- McCarthy, Michael (December 16, 2004). "Have a merry little Chrismukkah". USA TODAY. Retrieved December 28, 2006.
- Amann, Joseph and Tom Breuer (2007). Fair and Balanced, My Ass!: An Unbridled Look at the Bizarre Reality of Fox News. New York: Nation Books. ISBN 1-56858-347-8
- "Diversity Calendar" (December 2005). Cincinnati Magazine 39(3): 66. ISSN 0746-8210.
- . www.akosherchristmas.org. November 30, 2012 http://www.akosherchristmas.org. Retrieved November 16, 2013. Missing or empty
- "A Kosher Christmas | 'Tis the Season to be Jewish". Akosherchristmas.wordpress.com. Retrieved November 16, 2013.