By Barbara Jean Heller
Hanukkah and Thanksgiving….. Turkey and Latkes. What a great combination.
Hanukkah will be on Thanksgiving this year, for the first time ever, and never again!
We will be celebrating the first night of Chanukah on Thanksgiving, so expect turkey and latkes on the table.
This is the only time it will ever happen, read below to see the explanation.
Hanukkah will be on Thanksgiving this year! Thanksgiving is set as the fourth Thursday in November, meaning the latest it can be is 11/28. 11/28 is also the earliest Hanukkah can be…….
The Jewish calendar repeats on a 19 year cycle, and Thanksgiving repeats on a 7 year cycle. You would therefore expect them to coincide roughly every 19×7 = 133 years. Looking back, this is approximately correct – the last time it would have happened is 1861.
However, Thanksgiving was only formally established by President Lincoln in 1863. So, it has never happened before.
Why won’t it ever happen again?
The reason is because the Jewish calendar is very slowly getting out of sync with the solar calendar, at a rate of 4 days per 1000 years.
This means that while presently Hanukkah can be as early as 11/28, over the years the calendar will drift forward, such that the earliest Hanukkah can be is 11/29. The next time Hanukkah falls on 11/28 is 2146, which is a Monday. Therefore, 2013 is the only time Hanukkah will ever overlap with Thanksgiving.
Of course, if the Jewish calendar is never modified in any way, then it will slowly move forward through the Gregorian calendar, until it loops all the way back to where it is now.
So, Chanukah would again fall on Thursday, 11/28…in the year 79,811. Given our trajectory with global warming, it is fair to say humans won’t be here then. And if there are no humans, the holidays will be cancelled.
So, on November 28th 2013, enjoy your turkey and your latkes. It has never happened before, and it will never happen again.
© 2013 Barbara Jean Heller
Editor’s Note: Besides being my ex, Barbara Jean is a wonderful storyteller and a contributing author to the Mountain News.
As for Chanukah on Thanksgiving, all I can say is “Wow.”
Also, in case any readers are not familiar with “latkes,” they are potato pancakes.
Lastly, as for why the Jewish Festival of Lights has two spellings, Chanukah and Hannukah, I am reminded of Barbara’s oft-voiced commentary on these kinds of conundrums: “Two Jews, three opinions!”