By Sabrina Katz, Staff Writer
The month of November kicks off the holiday season with every American’s favorite holiday: Thanksgiving. Now, imagine a world where your favorite winter holidays combine to form one super-mega-celebration!
Fortunately for every Jewish-American out there, it’s your lucky year. That’s because 2013’s first night of Hanukkah coincides exactly with Thanksgiving hence Thanksgivukkah. The festival of lights and the festival of face-stuffing have finally merged , which presents us with delicious harvest food AND eight days of presents.
Because Hanukkah follows the Hebrew lunar calendar, which has 11 fewer days that the standard Gregorian calendar used in America, there is no set date on our calendar as to when Hanukkah is coming.
As a result, every few years, an extra month must be added to the Jewish calendar so that spring holidays remain in the spring, fall holidays are celebrated in the fall, and so forth. This also explains why the holiday of Hanukkah shifts and can be celebrated anytime between November and January.
The one great question on everyone’s mind is this: how can we combine these two great holidays without diminishing one or the other? Several articles online suggest serving “fusion” foods for the meal, which means pumpkin pie rugelach, challah bread-pudding and horseradish mashed potatoes. Indeed, several traditional foods from each holiday overlap, such as potatoes (for Hanukkah latkes and mashed potatoes), meat (brisket and turkey) and apples (applesauce and pie)! So there’s really no reason one holiday has to outshine the other.
In order to be prepared for your first Thanksgivukkah (yes, it’s everyone’s first, and it won’t happen for over 50,000 years), make sure you light some pumpkin pie-scented Hanukkah candles, exchange gifts between downs in the football game and split decorations equally between hand turkeys and dreidels.
If you forget to buy a Hanukkah gift (because when is it ever this early?), worry not! Black Friday will certainly have something for everybody that won’t break the bank. Or, if you are too lazy to leave the house, wait until the next week for Cyber Monday because it will still be Hanukkah!
See? All your favorite holidays wrapped in one!
By Sanah Faroke, Staff Writer
I was raised celebrating traditional American holidays—at least, they seemed traditional to me. But seeing as my mother is Jamaican and my father is Indian, their views certainly impacted my view of a traditional holiday. Living in Miami, I grew up alongside Hispanic culture infused into everything, even without me noticing the impact of its influence.
With the most American tradition of all time, Thanksgiving, coming up within a matter of days, I’m beginning to notice that nothing I’ve really experienced in my hometown has been truly American.
Every year for Thanksgiving, my family and I would walk to our neighbor’s house in the Miami fall (if you can call it that) weather, wearing sleeveless dresses and open toe shoes. As soon as we stepped foot into my neighbors’ house, Spanglish emerged from all corners. The smell of arroz con gandules, jamon, ensalada de papa and maduros filled the room, as well as turkey, of course.
I could never understand how the smell could make my mouth water so much until I sunk my teeth into the chicken and realized it was because I was in heaven. I had the best of two worlds―one American and one Hispanic. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
This year, for the first time, I won’t be able to taste delicious flan, pastel de choclo or drink sangria, and it just might be torture. For the first time, I’m going to be in New England for Thanksgiving. It seems appropriate for the very traditional cranberry sauce, turkey with gravy and stuffing Thanksgiving. While being in Massachusetts gives me the opportunity to finally experience a traditional Thanksgiving, turns out I’ll be having an Indian Thanksgiving instead. Yes, it’ll be my first too.
To be honest, I have no idea what to really expect. Maybe the turkey will have chili powder on it and the house will smell like spices and curry. And in the absence of Spanish, Urdu would be the dominant language in the house. Would we pray in English? Would we get out the prayer rugs or skip that ritual all together? For sure we would not end the prayer with “In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”
One thing is certain: although the last time I saw my Indian relatives was when I went to India about six years ago, they are still my family, like the ones I left back home. They probably don’t speak Spanish, eat smoked ham or allow me to wear sleeveless dresses (although I wouldn’t want to in this cold New England weather), but with them, I’ll be able to make new traditions.
I’ll relish over the tomato chutney, samosa and vegetarian biryani (with a tall glass of water on the side). I may not be able to watch “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving,” as I usually do every year, but it’s possible I can persuade them, surely for the children to enjoy. (Okay, and a small part of it for me, too.)
Whatever kind of Thanksgiving you’re having—whether it’s a Hispanic, Indian or a Charlie Brown one—be sure to give thanks, indulge in amazing food and make new traditions.