The leaves have fallen, and New England has weathered its first winter storm, with howling winds and temperatures 20 below freezing. We are all preparing to celebrate the gateway to winter, thankful for shelter, food and good company. This year our Thanksgiving feast will have an added spice, a warming blanket of older meaning.
Whatever you celebrate this November 28, Jews across the United States will be celebrating Thanksgivukkah with culinary imagination and joyful lighting of candles to celebrate the festival of lights.
festival of lights
pumpkin bisque, apple latkes
Some rabbinical sources have calculated the next convergence of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah will not be for 70,000 years!! Even our trees may not survive that long. But, according to the New York Times, “the last time the two holidays overlapped was in 1918, when Jews lit one menorah candle on Thanksgiving night, and it won’t happen again until Nov. 27, 2070.” Others chime in with other dates!
Mathematicians disagree with both the religious sources and the New York Times, and they assert this particular convergence has never happened before (except maybe once in 1888 before they made Thanksgiving the 4th Thursday of November) and may never happen again, and that’s because Hanukkah is a day earlier than the New York Times article provides, given that the first day will be celebrated the night before Thanksgiving. That means Hanukkah starts before Thanksgiving! Whew!
once in a lifetime
celebrate the convergence
remember the past
This fairy tale writer doesn’t know who to believe, the rabbis, the New York Times or the mathematicians. Whether you believe it will happen again in 57 years or maybe never, why not light some candles, roast some turkey with challah stuffing, fry up some potato pancakes, and celebrate a rarer occurrence than a comet sighting or a lunar eclipse.
I may not live long enough to see the next round of Yarmulke-wearing Turkeys (especially if it never happens again), but if I do, what a fairy tale that would be. We should all be so lucky!
Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Turkey Day, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Thanksgivukkah! Each year after this, as the leaves flame up and fall, crisped and brown, I will remember this special gateway to winter, the first Thanksgiving of my blogging days.
A few recipe ideas for a creative Thanksgiving and Hanukkah feast:
cooking for hours
table groans with fall delights
eaten in minutes
Note: a haībun is prose followed by a poem, often a haiku. Sometimes haiku or other poems are also used as transitions between paragraphs. Usually I write from a prompt, and I always enjoy that, but this week I wanted to celebrate outside the prompt. I may go back and write another haībun for the prompt, if I can squeeze out the time.