Why is this Hanukkah different from all other Hanukkahs? Because it happens to coincide with Thanksgiving. The eight-day Jewish holiday start date can vary due to the Hebrew calendar, though it typically occurs in December.
While, to some, this overlapping may not seem like a big deal, it actually is because this phenomenon last happened in 1888 and, according to calculations, it will not occur again for over an estimated 70,000 years. Interestingly, the woman who coined the term Thanksgivukkah—as well as the owner of the trademark and Twitter account—is from the Boston area. She thought of the idea in 2011 as she was driving.
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino even pronounced November 28 as “Thanksgivukkah Day.” In addition, in honor of the hybrid holiday, Macy’s announced that the Thanksgiving Day Parade will include a giant dreidel.
More importantly, however, this holiday provides a unique foodie opportunity to get creative by fusing together the traditional staples of two completely separate holidays of which food plays a major role.
Just type ‘Thanksgivukkah’ into Google or Buzzfeed and you will see just how excited people are for this holiday. The recipe ideas are endless. No, I’m not talking about gefilte fish as an appetizer and turkey as an entrée; I’m talking about a seamless, natural blending of classic Thanksgiving and Hanukkah flavors into one dish. Some examples include: cranberry sauce-filled sufganiyot (donuts), tzimmes pie with sweet potato and apple filling, challah stuffing, pecan pie rugelach (pastry), turkey shaped pumpkin challah, pumpkin kugel, and sweet potato latkes topped with cranberry sauce and apple-cinnamon yogurt.
With all that said, keep in mind that the average person consumes 2,300 calories at a typical holiday meal according to Sargent College professor and registered dietitian Joan Salge Blake. So while the holidays are certainly a time to enjoy your holiday favorites, be sure to practice thoughtful eating.