Thanksgiving + Hanukkah = Thanksgivukkah
Here comes December (English), Diciembre (Spanish), Dicembre (Italian), Decembre (French), Dezember (German), Grudnia (Polish). In ancient times Anglo-Saxons called it Heligh Monath, or holy month because Christmas, the birth of Jesus, is celebrated in December. The first recorded observance of this occurred in Rome in AD360 but it wasn’t until AD440 that the Christian Church fixed a celebration date of 25 December to it. December has special significance to many other groups as well. Here are a few: Bodhi Day on December 8th is the Day of Enlightenment for Buddhists; the Dongzhi Festival, the arrival of winter, is celebrated by Chinese and other East Asians on or around December 22; as is Soyal, the native American winter solstice ceremony, of the Zuni and the Hopi; and the Iranian festival of Yalda which is special to Persians; then there’s Kwanzaa beginning December 26th in honor of African heritage and Hogmanay, the Scottish New Year’s Eve celebration.
How does Thanksgivukkah fit into a column about December? Well, the first day of the Jewish festival of Hanukkah is on November 28, which is Thanksgiving this year; and it runs through December 5th. The last time this happened was 1888 and probably won’t happen again until another 70,000 plus years. That would make me well over 70,066 years old so I’m not going to make any special plans for that date. Anyway, this rare convergence of dates has spawned Thanksgivukkah, a combination of both holidays. Nine year-old Asher Weintraub capitalizing on this event has created what he calls the menurkey, a menorah (candelabrum) in the shape of a turkey. Don’t you love it? And since I’m on the subject of Judaism, it has been pointed out that many of the most famous Christmas songs were written by those of the Jewish faith including Silver Bells, Let It Snow, There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays, and White Christmas.
As for the Christian holiday of Christmas, I love the season and the reason for celebrating it. Family, friends, and holiday scents and food abound and good feelings of hope and joy permeate the air. Maybe some of you follow the tradition of making Christmas pudding. If so, it should be made with thirteen ingredients to represent Jesus and His Disciples. Every member of the family should take turns stirring the pudding with a wooden spoon from east to west in honor of the Wise Men. At the same time, each family member should make a secret wish. If you’d like the recipe, I found one version on line at matthewwalkerchristmaspuddings.co.uk/christmas-pudding-ingredients.
What does all this have to do with Bingo? Think about it. At Bingo we all go to enjoy the games and maybe win a little, or a lot, of money. There are friendly people there of all faiths or no faith and we all pretty much get along. Oh yeah, there are occasional outbursts, but they’re soon forgotten and the camaraderie bolsters the lonely and embraces the newcomers. Wouldn’t it be lovely if those of different nationalities and religious faiths all viewed life as a giant Bingo game and just got along for the betterment of everyone? Remember, we all inhabit this planet Earth. Until next month, my Lady Luck blow you kisses as you dance out the door with dollars. Win big, and then e-mail me at email@example.com. Merry Christmas!
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