This year, thanks to an extremely rare convergence, Thanksgiving (Nov. 28) falls during the eight-day Jewish Festival of Lights. Some are calling it “Hanu-giving.” Others prefer “Thanksgivukkah.”
We at peerTransfer would like to take a moment and tell you a little bit more about Hanukkah and wish you happy holidays!
What is Hanukkah: Hanukkah, also known as The Festival of Lights and the Feast of Dedication, commemorates the victory of Judah the Maccabee for religious freedom plus the re-dedication of the temple in 165 BCE. Hanukkah begins at sundown the prior day.
When: Actually, Hanukkah starts on the same day every year on the Hebrew calendar. But since the months of that calendar have only 29 or 30 days, the Jewish year falls roughly 11 days short of the 365-day Gregorian calendar. To keep everything in sync an extra “leap month” is added seven times every 19 years. That made Hanukkah unusually early this year. Combine that with an extremely late Thanksgiving, and boom! Thanksgivukkah! It falls on the second night of Hanukkah.
Traditions: Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar. The festival is observed by the kindling of the lights of a unique candelabrum, the nine-branched Menorah or Hanukiah. Eight of the branches represent the eight nights, while the last one (at a different height, usually higher than the rest) is called the shamash or helper candle, and is used to light the rest of the candles. The Hanukkiah is usually lighted at or right after sunset.
What to do: Another Hanukkah tradition is to play dreidel as well as giving small tokens to children. Small gifts of money are given to children on each night of Hanukkah. Chocolate coins are also popular as treats and gifts.
What to eat: Hanukkah just wouldn’t be the same without the traditional latkes and applesauce. Latkes (pancakes made from shredded potatoes, onions, matzoh meal and salt) are fried in oil to crispy gold brown, then served with applesauce (and often sour cream).
We wish you wonderful holidays and would love to hear how you celebrate them in the comments below!