Hanukkah traditions put a new spin on Thanksgiving

By Emma Brodey

Combing Hanukkah and Thanksgiving brings a tasty twist on traditions
Combining Hanukkah and Thanksgiving brings a tasty twist on traditions.

Thanksgiving: the quintessential American holiday. Popular culture would have it that we all do the same thing on the last Thursday in November. We sit down with our friends and family, and eat a banquet consisting of exorbitant amounts of turkey and mashed potatoes. But this isn’t the reality for everyone at East. Different cultures and family traditions make Thanksgiving a unique experience for everyone.

“For Thanksgiving my family always eats lots and lots of Russian food,” said sophomore Sam Vinogradov. “We have borsch, olyve salad, and pilmeni. … My huge family is always there, and the house is totally full.”

Many students like Vinogradov have their own family Thanksgiving traditions.

“I always celebrate thanksgiving twice, because my parents are divorced,” said sophomore Corey Pahel-Short. “Every year we switch off who gets the real day so it’s fair.”

Some families make efforts to defy stereotypical Thanksgiving traditions.

“Every year we go out for Thanksgiving,” said sophomore Caroline Mueller. “Stereotypically in Thanksgiving, the girls make food in the kitchen all day while the guys watch football, and my mom decided that’s not okay. She’s a good cook, but we go out to the Carolina Inn, dress up and eat great food.”

Mueller’s family is not the only one to shrink from common Thanksgiving traditions.

“We don’t stick to traditions. We just bake the turkey and that’s it,” said sophomore Katie Brees of her Thanksgiving routine.

While most people do celebrate Thanksgiving with their families, some center the celebration around other holidays. Sophomore Sophie Worthy’s family is one of these.

“Every year at Thanksgiving, my family chooses secret santas for Christmas,” Worthy said. “We do this because, with ten cousins, buying everyone a gift would be very difficult.”

This year’s Thanksgiving is a special one because it coincides with the first day of Hanukkah. This Thanksgivukkah, however, poses a challenge for those like sophomore Sam Brestin who normally celebrate both holidays separately.

“This year we’re going to have a massive feast during the day for Thanksgiving, then at night we’ll have a very starchy carbohydrate feast of potatoes and apple herosa,” Brestin said. “We’ll do the tradition of spinning the dreidel and we’ll bet gelt, but no matter who wins we’ll just split the chocolate. So we’ll be doing Thanksgiving for one day, and Hanukkah for the next eight.”

Thanksgiving isn’t just about the turkey, and it’s not the same for everyone. On the contrary, our own Thanksgiving traditions are what make the holiday meaningful for each of us.

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