The first day of Hanukkah* will be on Thanksgiving** this year, for the first time ever and ever again! So expect to see, or be sure to put, turkey and latkes on the table. This is the only time it will happen.
Thanksgiving is set as the fourth Thursday in November, meaning the latest day on which it can fall is Nov. 28; Nov. 28 is also the earliest day on which Hanukkah can begin
(actually, sundown on the 27th.) 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 133 years (19 times 7). Looking back, the last time would have happened is 1861. However because Thanksgiving was formally established by President Lincoln in 1863, this phenomenon of the two holidays coinciding has never happened before.
This year’s rare convergence of Thanksgiving and first day of Hanukkah has brought about a cornucopia of money-making opportuniti
The next time will be more than 79,000 years from now, according to a calculation by physicist Jonathan Mizrahi. Thanksgiving Day falls on the first full day of the eight-day Hanukkah observance for Jews.
Internet sites and store shelves are filling up with items that celebrate the Nov. 28 mash-up of Festival of Lights and the festival of eating – now called Thanksgivukkah.
There are foil-wrapped chocolate coins that change the congratulatory “Mazel Tov!” Thanksgiving-themed menorahs and aprons that show turkeys wearing yarmulkes on their heads.
Why won’t it ever happen again?
The Jewish calendar is very slowly getting out of sync with solar calendar, at a rate of four days per 1000 years! This means that while, presently, Hanukkah can be early as Nov. 28, over the years, the calendar will drift forward and so that the earliest Hanukkah can be is Nov. 29. The next time the first day of Hanukkah falls on Nov. 28 is 2146, which is a Monday. Therefore, 2013 is the only time Hanukkah will overlap with Thanksgiving.
Of course, if the Jewish calendar is never modified in any way, it will slowly move forward trough the Gregorian calendar until it loops all the way back to where it is now. So, Hanukkah would again fall on Thursday, Nov. 28 – in the year 79,811! And, if there are no humans, the holidays will be cancelled!
So, this Nov. 28, enjoy your turkey and your latkes also called Levivot. It has never happened before and never happens again.
*Hanukkah is a Jewish Festival of Lights. It is originated when the Jews regain control of the Jewish Temple after three year battle with a Greek-Syrian rule; the word Hanukkah means dedication in Hebrew.
**Thanksgiving Day “Jour de l’ Action de grace in Canadian French” is a national holiday celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year.