Christmas and Hanukkah on the Same Day

Why do Hanukkah and Christmas fall on the same day this year? For an explanation, see this article.

Though the two holidays do not coincide every year (in fact they rarely do), they do fall in the same approximate season of the year. This has given rise to the so-called “December Dilemma.” We have mentioned the December Dilemma in previous editions of Real Time, but if you missed them and are curious you can learn about it here:
The December Dilemma: Why Christmas is a Crisis for Some Jewish People
The Real Hanukkah/Christmas Dilemma

Intermarried families (with one Jewish and one non-Jewish partner) wonder how to celebrate, and the larger Jewish community also wrestles with how Jews should think about the Christmas holiday. For a recent look at intermarried families vis-a-vis these two holidays, see “December Dilemma Survey Provides Insights about Interfaith Families and Holiday Celebrations.”

We took note of a special site from the Jewish Museum in Berlin, “Chrismukkah: Stories of Christmas and Hanukkah.” Be patient as the site came up slowly for us.

Among the more interesting items you will find links to there: A “December dilemma chess board,” whimsically highlighting the problem of being Jewish and relating to the larger cultural trappings, and spiritual meaning, of Christmas.

The press release gives even more information.

According to the press release, “A Christmas celebration with a tree, songs, and gifts became a symbol of being a part of German culture for many middle-class Jewish families in the 19th century. Jews celebrated Christmas as a secular ‘festival of the world around us’ without religious meaning, or they transferred Christmas customs to the Hanukkah festival. This mixture was and is referred to as ‘Chrismukkah.’ Those who would like to know more about the ‘December dilemma’ which many Jews face each year will find this in the last room of the exhibition.”

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