Post image for Celebrate Thanksgivvukah, Because You Can’t Afford to Wait Until Next Time

Celebrate Thanksgivvukah, Because You Can’t Afford to Wait Until Next Time

by Judy Stone-Goldman on November 27, 2013

Share Button

By now you’ve probably heard: Thanksgiving and Hanukkah are overlapping in an occurrence so rare it won’t happen again for over 77,000 years. That’s a lot of time to fill between turkey latkes.

People seem to be having endless fun with this holiday mixture, and the Internet is full of songs, recipes, arguments for, arguments against, and other creative ways to blend two holidays that aren’t typically friends. Even the comic strips are in on the fun: Fritz and Rhymes with Orange have run Thanksgivvukah jokes.

Merriment aside, I find myself drawn to the Thanksgiving-Hanukkah confluence for different reasons, reasons that feel less well articulated than all the jokes and jollies. I have a sensation inside of me that is not yet translated into words  — a perfect place for unplanned reflective writing. So here goes.

My prompt to myself: “When I think about this rare overlap of Thanksgiving-Hanukkah, I am aware of ______”

I am aware of awe in the face of time. We think we know time. We use the calendar. We count out how many days until an event and we plan how many days we need to complete a task. We believe in weeks and months and years, and nearly all of us can recite “Thirty Days Hath September…” as a way to remember if a month has 30 or 31 days. We have some dates that never shift (Valentine’s Day, Christmas) and some dates that are linked to Mondays (Labor Day, Memorial Day). And we have some dates that fall on a designated day, like Thanksgiving’s fourth Thursday in November. When it comes to holidays, we believe in constancy.

But along comes Hanukkah, which of course is linked to the Jewish calendar rather than the Gregorian. The Jewish calendar is a lunar calendar, which makes for its own kind of variability. But the the Jewish calendar isn’t satisfied with just the moon: it also syncs with the sun periodically so that holidays fall in the right season. This is tricky business, and to make everything work out, the calendar rabbis decided there needed to be some leap months. We all know about Leap Year, the corrective device every four years in the Gregorian Calendar, but who knew about the Leap Month? When you start adding in extra months to a calendar that is already drifting about from lunar cycles, you get some unexpected time shifts. Dr. Who might call it “wibbly wobbly timey-wimey.”

So here we are, faced with an overlap of two holidays that do not ordinarily meet, and will not meet again for a very, very (very) long time. (How many “very’s” do you need for 77,000 years?) My wondering mind goes into overdrive at this thought. How can one imagine 77,000 years from now? Will our world still exist? What, if anything, will remain of our planet — the vegetation, the animals, the population, the oceans, the color of the sky? If humans are lucky enough to still exist, who will they be and how will they be transformed?

We live with many stories first taught to us in childhood. The story of the first Thanksgiving between the Pilgrims and the American Indians is one such story. Perhaps in 77,000 years, there will be another Thanksgiving story, one telling of aliens from other universes eating cranberry latkes with the creatures who evolve from us.

The only thing we know for sure is that that we — the you and I who are living here today — will not be around for the next Thanksgivvukah. So enjoy this one, as fully, joyfully, abundantly, consciously, contemplatively, and gratefully as possible, which of course is what every once-in-a-multi-milliennia event deserves.

Questions for Reflection: What is your reaction to an event as rare as Thanksgiving + Hanukkah? In what ways is Thanksgivvukah meaningful to you? If you could imagine the world for the next Hanukkah and Thanksgiving, 77,000 years from now, what would you imagine?

Writing Prompts: “When I think about the rare overlap of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, I am aware of ______” (then keep writing); “Trying to imagine 77,000 years from now makes me ______” (then keep writing); “This post makes me think of ______” (then keep writing); “If I could wish anything for the world 77,000 years in the future, I’d wish ______” (then keep writing).

The song link in the post above is a parody of the song “Royals” by Lorde. If you have not heard this song performed by Florida State University AcaBelles, listen now! Mesmerizing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share Button

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Deanna Heiliger
Twitter:
November 27, 2013 at 4:15 pm

Judy, this was such an entertaining and well written post…thank you! I was at the grocery store today buying some things for our Thanksgiving celebration and I made a mental note of interest that there was an end-cap with matzo and Jewish chocolates. I do not watch the news, or maybe I would have known. You have definitely given me an education! :)

Reply

Judy Stone-Goldman
Twitter:
December 1, 2013 at 8:06 am

Deanna, It’s always fun to see the holiday foods pop up in stores as a signal to what’s coming. Hanukkah and Passover are two holidays with a lot of food connections (true of most Jewish holidays!) so you’ll see the special displays. In fact, matzo isn’t at all connected with Hanukkah, but the stores know it’s a Jewish food so they put it out for whatever holiday comes up!! (The special matzoh is for Passover, which comes in the spring.) Glad you could enjoy a few new bits of information!

Reply

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 30, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Judy,
This is such a wonderfully informative post. It’s absolutely amazing that we’re witness to Thanksgiving-Hanukkah. Thanks so much for sharing your insight with us.

Reply

Judy Stone-Goldman
Twitter:
December 1, 2013 at 8:06 am

Hi Sherryl, Thanks for being here. I know you came to help with the website glitch, but I enjoy having your comment and perspective. This was a fun post to share.

Reply

jakeb arturio braden December 1, 2013 at 12:35 am

Well said I had no idea it was that far apart I knew their calender was lunar though! We don’t really have either here in the UK! Although I love the idea of being thankful and appreciative!

Reply

Judy Stone-Goldman
Twitter:
December 1, 2013 at 8:09 am

Jakeb, It’s always fun to have international readers! I’m sure you know how big a deal Thanksgiving is in America, so adding Hanukkah just gave a fun twist this year. Gratitude is a wonderful practice that can be added to every holiday, everywhere! Thanks for commenting.

Reply

Kathy Gabriel December 1, 2013 at 12:29 pm

Comments testing …

77,000 years Judy! Let’s start with 77,000 seconds or minutes … these I hope to be around for and will be very very, very grateful! :)

Reply

Judy Stone-Goldman
Twitter:
December 1, 2013 at 1:22 pm

Anything that is “77,000″ is a lot of something!! Maybe 77,000 moments of reflection?

Reply

Leave a Comment

 

Previous post:

Next post: