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January 18, 2013 • Gear Bits

In 2013 Thanksgiving and Hanukkah Overlap for the Only Time … Ever


Largely because I am not Jewish, I only vaguely keep up with the Hanukkah calendar on an annual basis. But when Perry shared this link on Facebook recently, I fell in love with the graph and simply had to share it here. Bottom line – Thanksgiving and first day of Hanukkah coincide in 2013 … never before, and never again.

Why is that?

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 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.

Which explains why this is the first occurrence, but why will it never happen again? You’ll have to read the article to find out.

However, I’ll tell you that the calculations are allowed to spill forward in time until the calendars line up again … which will happen again in 79,811!

Any other cool calendar oddities you know about?

Source: Jonathan Mizrahi

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