Neither the pilgrims nor ancients Jews could have ever seen this one coming, but it's nearly here, a rare holiday convergence that could have some families passing the turkey and the latkes.
Even a name was hatched for it — Thanksgivukkah, this year's once-in-a-lifetime overlap of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, an eight-day celebration that nearly always lands in December.
As mash-ups go, this one's got heft, history, tasty food — and enough substance to make us feel ridiculous for ever saying Brangelina.
With Thanksgivukkah you've got a national holiday recalling sturdy pilgrims that dates to 1621 matching up with a religious holiday commemorating an epic battle won by faithful Jews that stretches a tad further, like second century B.C.
Hanukkah always starts at sunset, and this year begins Wednesday evening. So the first day of Hanukkah lands on Thanksgiving.
The last time the two holidays collided was nearly 100 years ago, and they won't connect again until 2070 when the evening start of Hanukkah falls on Thanksgiving.
Though the holiday match up is rare, Thanksgiving and Hanukkah actually share a common theme — thankfulness. But more on that later.
So what are local Jewish families planning?
Drive past Janet Kohll's Omaha home on Thanksgiving Day and you'll spot an 8-foot-tall inflatable Hanukkah bear holding a dreidel on the front lawn.
On her door you'll see both a turkey decoration and a cloth menorah, a type of Jewish candelabra. In her living room you'll see a turkey-shaped bowl filled with chocolate coins that are a Hanukkah tradition.
During her family's Thanksgiving meal, her husband, David, and their five children will pass Jewish potato pancakes called latkes, along with turkey and stuffing.
People across the country are having all sorts of fun with the tandem holiday.
A 9-year-old New York boy invented the “Menurkey” and raised more than $48,000 on Kickstarter for his already trademarked, turkey-shaped menorah. Woodstock-inspired T-shirts have a turkey perched on the neck of a guitar and implore “8 Days of Light, Liberty & Latkes.” It's creators nabbed the trademark to “Thanksgivukkah.”
Manischewitz, the nation's leading maker of kosher foods, jumped in with a Thanksgivukkah web site, e-cards for the hybrid holiday and recipe mash-ups.
Because the Jewish calendar is based primarily on the lunar cycle, Hanukkah and other religious observances appear to drift slightly from year to year when compared to the U.S. calendar. But much of the intrigue over Hanukkah this year is buried deep in the history of Thanksgiving itself, which hasn't always been fixed in the same spot.
In 1863, Lincoln declared Thanksgiving as the last Thursday in November (the month sometimes has five of those) and the holiday remained there until President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a joint resolution of Congress fixing it as the fourth Thursday, starting in 1942.
Rabbi Mendel Katzman of Omaha's Chabad Center said Jewish families are embracing the overlap of the holidays, partly because both are celebrations of thankfulness and religious freedom.
Thanksgiving has roots in gratitude for a good harvest and in honoring the colonists who came here seeking freedom.
Hanukkah celebrates the victory of a small band a faithful Jews over a mighty Greek army more than 2,000 years ago. The Jews reclaimed Jerusalem's Holy Temple, and miraculously kept its menorah burning for eight days with only a one-day supply of oil.
“Both (holidays) say thank God we are free,'' Katzman said.
He said the two holidays reinforce each other, potentially making both Thanksgiving and Hanukkah more powerful this year for Jewish families.
Rabbi Steven Abraham of Omaha's Beth El Synagogue said both holidays also are similar in their family focus.
Hanukkah is a religious holiday, a joyful one celebrated at home with family, he said, unlike other more somber Jewish religious holidays such as Yom Kippur.
During Hanukkah families light the menorah and add certain passages to the daily prayers. Parents give money gifts to children, and they play games with dreidels, the four-sided tops that are a tradition of the holiday.
For fun, some Jewish families are coming up with Thanksgivukkah recipes that toss in a dash of each holiday.
Maybe pumpkin donuts? Or stuffing latkes?
Omaha mom Aviva Segall said her two children will be making Hanukkah donuts filled with cranberry sauce.
“That would be a hit,'' she said.
Includes material from the Associated Press