Thanksgivukkah, Now and Forever
Good news -- or, well, bad news if you're Slate's holiday-hybrid-hating Allison Benedikt: Thanksgivukkah, the heaping holiday platter that combines Thanksgiving and Hanukkah this year, can come again.
Don't throw your Menurkey at me. I'm aware that this year's exact scenario -- in which the first day of Hanukkah falls on Thanksgiving -- may not happen for another 77,030 years. Or 77,798 years. Or possibly ever.
But Thanksgivukkah didn't spring fully formed from the forehead of the Easter Bunny. It was manufactured -- not to mentiontrademarked and kickstarted and buzzfed. It can be reproduced. Manischewitz, maker of the sweet Kosher wine that fuels Passover seders, dedicated somewhere in the range of $3 million to making this holiday happen. (Full disclosure: I crucially helped by dressing as Thansgivukkah for a Halloween party.)
Jews nationwide have cooperated, refraining from putting too much emphasis on the fact that Hanukkah actually starts Wednesday night -- Erev Thanksgiving, as long as we're in the spirit of things. The first night of Hanukkah will overlap with Thanksgiving in 2070, which really isn't quite so far away.
Through publicity and perseverance and a whole lot of recipes for challah stuffing, Thanksgivukkah is officially taking place on Thursday. As a Jew I'm thankful for it. As an American, I'm confident we can create multiple brands and spin-offs.
In fact, by mixing and matching religious observances and secular holidays, we can really nurture the hybrid-holiday market. Exhibit A: Labor Hashanah, coming in 2032.
Merging religious calendars adds a bit of e pluribus exoticism. Mix the Jewish lunar-solar calendar and the Islamic lunar calendar, for example, and you get Rosh Hashanah and Ramadan apparently overlapping every 33 years. I can't wait for the big Ramashanah mattress sale in 2038.
Slate's Benedikt alludes to the frequent overlap of Passover and Easter. "Easover? Passeaster?" she wonders. No thanks. As with pastries (ahem, cronut), a pleasant-sounding hybrid name is required for maximum social-media exposure. Exhibit B (a classic): Aren't we all dreaming of a white Chrismukkah in 2016?
Food combinations are easy: Help yourself to sweet potato bourbon noodle kugel. Thematic consistency -- freedom, persecution -- also helps. But beware overlapping holidays requiring double-barreled gift-giving. Just ask someone born on Christmas how well that works out: It's hard to avoid the feeling you've been cheated.
There are plenty of candidates for hybrid holidays in 2014 alone. April 15 brings Tax Day and the first day of Passover. Two months later, we'll have Fathers' Day on Trinity Sunday. Columbus Day will fall midway through Sukkot. And my birthday arrives on the last day of Shavuot, the holiday that commemorates the giving of the Torah to the Jewish people. The ultimate question: Birthuot or Shavirthday? Either one is appropriate -- provided you bring a gift.
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Zara Kessler at firstname.lastname@example.org