This year Hanukkah coincides with Thanksgiving, on 11/28/2021. 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 19×7 = 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.
Because the Jewish calendar is very slowly getting out of sync with the solar calendar, at a rate of 4 days per 1000years . 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.
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 could again fall on Thursday, 11/28…in the year 79,811 * .
Calendars , not with standing we need an early Hanukkah this year. It is a holiday that brings hope and good cheer to all of us regardless of our religious backgrounds.
So pass the cranberry sauce AND the latkes, please.
- NOTE: The 79811 date is NOT accurate, but was meant to be tongue in cheek. Jewish law requires Passover to be in the Spring. Therefore, the Jewish calendar will have to be adjusted long before it loops all the way around.