Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Year without a Chrismukkah

As some of you may know, Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights (aka Christmas for Jews), begins on the twenty-fifth day of the Jewish month of Kislev (which is not Hebrew for December, though it typically coincides with December).

As the Hebrew calendar is based on lunar cycles, this means that Hanukkah -- also known as Chanukah -- can fall anytime between November 28th and December 26th. And this year, for the first time in many moons, Hanukkah fell on Thanksgiving, giving us Thanksgivukkah -- or eight days of turkey and latkes.

That also meant, a year without a Chrismukkah.

A year without a Chrismukkah? Why, that's like a year without a Santa Claus, but without the cool songs.

[I never get tired of watching the Snow Miser/Heat Miser songs -- or an excuse to feature them on the blog. Thank you Rankin/Bass and ABC Family.]

While many Christians are happy not to have to share Christmas* (even though Christ was actually born in June and what we now call Christmas is actually the Roman pagan holiday of Saturnalia, which Christian leaders co-opted in the 4th Century CE or AD), this has posed a dilemma for interfaith families and New York Jews for whom Chrismukkah is a tradition. (I still have fond memories of singing the Messiah with my other Manhattan private girls school Jewish friends.)

For example, do you still put the Hanukkah topper on the Christmas tree?

[Yes, Virginia, there is a Hanukkah tree topper. (You're welcome, Morri.)]

And can you still sing "The Hanukkah Song" at Christmastime, even if Hanukkah ended nearly three weeks before?

So many questions.

Fortunately, order, and Chrismukkah, will be somewhat restored next year, in 2014, when Hanukkah begins on December 16th and ends on Christmas Eve (aka December 24th).

Until then, have yourselves a merry little Christmas, or Kwanzaa, or whatever.

*Or as Dave S. calls it, the Holiday for Everyone [unless you are Jewish, or Muslim, or Hindu, or an atheist]


Anonymous said...


LarryE said...

Came here from the Jon Swift roundup. Just wanted to say hi and that maybe - maybe - you might be interested in a post of mine about why Christmas is on December 25.