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Old 23 January 2013, 06:18 PM
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snopes snopes is offline
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Icon215 Hanukkah and Thanksgiving

Comment: Hanukkah and Thanksgiving: A once in eternity overlap

Next year features an anomaly for American Jews The first
day of Hanukkah coincides with Thanksgiving, on 11/28/2013. It turns out
that it has never happened before...and it will never happen again.

Thanksgiving is set as the fourth Thursday in November,
meaning the latest it can be is 11/28. 11/28 is also the earliest Hanukkah
can be. The Jewish calendar repeats on a 19 year cycle, and Thanksgiving
repeats on a 7 year cycle. You would therefore expect them to coincide
roughly every 19x7 = 133 years. Looking back, this is approximately
correct the last time it would have happened is 1861. However,
Thanksgiving was only formally established by President Lincoln in 1863.
So, it has never happened before. Why won't it ever happen again?

The reason is because the Jewish calendar is very slowly
getting out of sync with the solar calendar, at a rate of 4 days per 1000
years (not bad for a many centuries old calendar!) This means that while
presently Hanukkah can be as early as 11/28, over the years the calendar
will drift forward, such that the earliest Hanukkah can be is 11/29. The
last time Hanukkah falls on 11/28 is 2146 (which happens to be a Monday).
Therefore, 2013 is the only time Hanukkah will ever overlap with

Of course, if the Jewish calendar is never modified in any
way, then it will slowly move forward through the Gregorian calendar,
until it loops all the way back to where it is now. So, Hanukkah will
again fall on Thursday, 11/ the year 79,811.
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Old 23 January 2013, 06:23 PM
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So "will never happen" = "could happen in about 77,800 years"?
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Old 23 January 2013, 06:30 PM
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Location: Portland, OR
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It might be fair to assume that Hanukkah and Thanksgiving won't both be celebrated holidays in the year 79811. (There's no comma in the name of a year!*)

*I think. We certainly don't write it as 2,013.**

** That was a dig at the article, not at GenYus, who wasn't naming a year but a quantity.
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Old 23 January 2013, 08:11 PM
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Avril Avril is offline
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Posts: 10,547

Not exactly.

Keeping in mind that until Roosevelt, Thanksgiving was the last Thursday in November and not the fourth, Hanukkah and Thanksgiving have overlapped after the Civil War. I read something about this but I don't remember the exact nights.

Also, while the first day of Hanukkah might very rarely fall on Thanksgiving, the first night of Hanukkah falls on Thanksgiving somewhat more frequently.

ETA: I found where I first saw this. Here's the original article. Here's the Addendum that addresses what I said. The last time Thanksgiving and Hannukah overlapped was actually 1888. The candles will be lit for the first night of Hanukkah on Thanksgiving evening in 2070 and 2165.

Last edited by Avril; 23 January 2013 at 08:19 PM.
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