Thanksgiving and Hanukkah Fall on the Same Day

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COLUMBIA - For the first time since Thanksgiving moved to the fourth Thursday in November, Jews are celebrating a new kind of holiday. Hanukkah and Thanksgiving fall on the same day. That's because the Jewish calendar is based on a lunar cycle, rather than a regularly scheduled day.

Celebration of two holidays on the same day ushers in new holiday dubbed Thanksgivukkah. Some are going to have fun with the two holidays falling together and combining each of the traditions.

"For the night that it does fall on Thanksgiving, we're going to make sweet potato latkes instead of the regular straight potato latkes," Jewish student Thalia Sass, said. "So it's just something new and different that we're trying."

Some people are going to celebrate the holidays separately.

"My family celebrates Hanukkah," Jeanne Snodgrass, the director of Hillel, the Jewish campus center, said. "Not all my in-laws do, so we'll go. Thanksgiving is a really big holiday for them so we'll go and celebrate thanksgiving with them but we'll also bring our menorahs and all our stuff and do what we would normally do for Hanukkah while we're up there."

Having Hanukkah fall on the same day as Thanksgiving makes traveling and visiting family to celebrate the holiday easier because most businesses and schools are closed.

"It's fun that they fall on the same day," Snodgrass said. "Definitely for Jews in this country it's nice. It's sort of an added bonus that you can be with your family because so many people have off anyway that you can sort of play with all the foods or have a chance to have a larger gathering that you might not be able to.

Some Columbia students think otherwise. Sass said this year's Hanukkah has arrived too early.

"It's like a month before any of the other winter holidays," Sass said. "So it feels kinda of weird getting in the holiday spirit now before finals while I'm still at Mizzou and not at home. It just doesn't feel like Hanukkah yet. Around December 20th or whatever when it's actually supposed to fall then maybe I'll get into the Hanukkah spirit."

Dan Osburn, who celebrates both Hanukkah and Christmas, said having Hanukkah during the school year brought his family more together even though he was apart from them.

"Our family had the tradition of when I leave from Thanksgiving break my mom would always give me a bag of little tiny presents with the date on them and she trusted me to open them on each day," Osburn said. "I managed to do that and it's been kind of cool that it happened over finals. And the days were like a study snack or energy drink or coffee drink that I was able to get excited about that night before studying and many times I utilized the presents for studying. This year I don't know if they're going to do the same types of things just because they overlap with the break. It's actually been a cool part about not being home for Hanukkah in the past."

The next time this will happen won't be for more than 70,000 years according to one calculation. Whatever days these holidays fall on, they both encourage a time to spend with family and loved ones.

[Editor's note: This story was edited to clarify the overlap of the holidays since Thanksgiving moved to the fourth Thursday in November.]