Thanksgivukkah: Hanukkah is somewhat like Jewish Thanksgiving this year, but with elements of Christmas: Thanksristmas?

A Hanukkah Menorah (MathKnight)


Many Jews celebrate a time that they call Hanukkah. This year it begins Wednesday November 27th at sunset.  For 2013, its entire time is from “Sunset, November 27 to nightfall, December 5.”

The Miami Herald this year has an article about it titled New holiday: Thanksgivukkah.  Essentially, a take-off of combing the word Hanukkah with Thanksgiving, because of the timing this year:

The convergence happens only once in a lifetime: Thanksgiving falling on the first day of Hanukkah.

It’s Thanksgivukkah — and it is not expected to occur again for more than 70,000 years.

The unusual confluence of the holidays on Thursday is causing a celebratory sensation in South Florida and around the country, as revelers dream up recipes for sweet potato latkes and challah stuffing, and imagine feasting on Thanksgiving fare while children spin dreidels and open Hanukkah gifts.

Of course, with many stores opening for Christmas related sales on Thanksgiving in the USA in 2013, instead of observing Thanksgiving, many are essentially observing Thanksristmas (a word I came up with this past Sunday).

As far as Hanukkah itself, here is some of Wikipedia has reported about it:

Hanukkah (pronounced HAH-nə-kə ; Hebrew: חֲנֻכָּה, Tiberian: Ḥănukkāh, usually spelled חנוכה, pronounced [χanuˈka] in Modern Hebrew; a transliteration also romanized as Chanukah, Chanukkah or Chanuka), also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE. 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.

Hanukkah is not a biblical holiday, but mainly started out as a national holiday. Jesus, Himself, seemed to possibly observe it, and it is referred to as the Feast of the Dedication in the New Testament (John 10:22-23). Last year, on the Roman calendar, it runs from “Sunset, December 8 to nightfall, December 16.”

The New York Times reported the following about it this year:

Many Americans, Jews as well as Christians, think that the legend of the long-lasting oil is the root of Hanukkah’s commemoration.
And perhaps that mistake is no surprise, given that for many the holiday has morphed into “Christmas for Jews,” echoing the message of peace on earth accompanied by gift giving. In doing so, the holiday’s own message of Jewish survival and faith has been diluted…

Though Hanukkah is a minor Jewish holiday, 19th-century activists in America promoted it to encourage their coreligionists to take pride in their heritage. During the 20th century it was embraced more broadly by Jews who wanted to fit in with other Americans celebrating the holiday season — and to make their kids feel better about not getting anything from Santa.

It helped, of course, that Hanukkah falls near Christmas on the calendar and traditionally involved candles and small monetary gifts. Over time, children began receiving grander presents, and Hanukkah-themed season’s greeting cards proliferated. Some families even started to purchase “Hanukkah bushes,” small trees often decked out with Stars of David and miniature Maccabees.

The Jews should be aware that they are not to adopt Gentile practices involving trees, etc. Notice what the Hebrew Bible (AKA the Old Testament) teaches:

29 “When the Lord your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, 30 take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’ 31 You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way; for every abomination to the Lord which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods. (Deuteronomy 12:29-31)

2 Thus says the Lord:

Do not learn the way of the Gentiles;
Do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven,
For the Gentiles are dismayed at them.
3 For the customs of the peoples are futile;
For one cuts a tree from the forest,
The work of the hands of the workman, with the ax.
4 They decorate it with silver and gold;
They fasten it with nails and hammers
So that it will not topple.
5 They are upright, like a palm tree,
And they cannot speak;
They must be carried,
Because they cannot go by themselves.
Do not be afraid of them,
For they cannot do evil,
Nor can they do any good.” (Jeremiah 10:2-5)

For more on biblical admonitions against using green trees in worship, go to the article: What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days?

Compromise has happened throughout the centuries from both Jews as well as those who claimed to be true Christians. Hanukkuh is now mainly a Jewish compromise.

Oddly, more Jews keep Hanukkah than keep many of the biblical holy days (often improperly referred to as Jewish holidays).

And of course, most who claim to be Christians keep non-biblical holidays more than they do biblical ones.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Did Early Christians Celebrate Birthdays? Did biblical era Jews celebrate birthdays? Who originally celebrated birthdays? When did many that profess Christ begin birthday celebrations?
Thanksgiving: A Time To Give Thanks and Praise the LORD Is this American holiday appropriate? Why or why not?
The Temple and the Work This article discusses the two temples of the Old Testament and gives insight as to their possible relevance to the situation which has impacted the Church during this past decade or so.
What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days? Do you know what the Catholic Church says were the original Christian holy days? Was Christmas among them? Is December 25th Jesus’ birthday or that of the sun god?
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by the Tkach WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days.
Holy Day Calendar This is a listing of the biblical holy days through 2024, with their Roman calendar dates. They are really hard to observe if you do not know when they occur 🙂 In the Spanish/Español/Castellano language: Calendario de los Días Santos. In Mandarin Chinese: 何日是神的圣日? 这里是一份神的圣日日历从2013年至2024年。.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?

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