While some are looking to tomorrow’s special event as some sign of apocalypse, I’d be the first to admit that I’m pretty excited for the coincidence of Thanksgiving and Chanuka. What better way to celebrate Thanksgiving than by encroaching upon its native turf? (Zing.)
This post was prompted by a recent email that turned up in my inbox, with a deceptively-simple subject line — one word: “Thanksgivikah.” I didn’t think much of it as I got to typing my reply, but the moment I pressed send, I noticed something a little off. You see, I had concluded my email in kind, by wishing the recipient a “Happy Thanksgivvukah!” and couldn’t help but do a double-take at my own spelling of the word: Two v’s? That couldn’t possibly be right.
Or could it?
Two years ago, this blog thoroughly covered the debate over the proper spelling of Hanuka/Chanuka/Hanukah/Chanukah/Hanukkah/Chanukkah/Hanukka/Chanukka in a post titled Google’s War on ‘Chanuka’. One of the highlights of that post was Avidan Ackerson’s deterministic finite automaton that helped define all of the possibilities (for Google to declare war against).
This year, Avidan and I have again teamed up to compile all the possible spellings of the seemingly-simple but deceptively-diverse portmanteau of Thanksgiving and Chanuka. Behold, DFA v2.013:
Unfortunately, this year’s version is not quite as definitive as the original. It turns out there are just way more variations of Thanksgivvukah than there are of Chanuka.
Here’s a fun game for the first night of Chanuka: get out a pencil and a piece of paper and write down as many possible spellings as you can, by which I mean, spellings that have ever actually been used in the history of the internet.
Done? Feel free to post your score in the comments.
Here’s an answer key we put together with the help of Google:
Thanksgivikah (Pajiba, KMOV St. Louis, Shelsky’s Smoked Fish, The Beijinger, Washington Square Park Conservancy, Houston Congregation for Reform Judaism, Beit Simchat Torah (great, another holiday), et al.)
Thanksgivukah (The Shiksa Blog, Cleveland Jewish News, Parade.com, The Austin Chronicle, Manischewitz on Pinterest, Manischewitz in the New York Times, The Jewish Week, Jewish Journal, New York Times, et al.)
Thanksgivvikah (Mandel JCC on Youtube, Chabad at Vanderbilt, Explore with Spunk, Limmud Boston, last Pinterest, Indiegogo, Bistro 185 Blog, Westchester Torah Academy, Moscow’s Voice of Truth (can’t argue with Pravda), et al.)
Hanusgiving (Broad Street Review, thankfully that’s the only one I could find)
Thanksgivvika (Dream Choosers)
Thanksgivvuka (Elephant Eats)
So which variation is correct? Which one do you use? Did we fail to identify any possible combination of letters that have ever been used to refer to tomorrow’s holiday?
I have no answers (I never have answers), but I hope this was at least a helpful guide.