Thanksgiving and Hanukkah have collided.
I’m paraphrasing an article in USA Today siting the rare convergence of the traditional “festival of eating” with the “festival of lights.” The newspaper called it Thanksgivukkah. The article highlighted the relevance of the new holiday to retail sales, but I’m interested from a cultural perspective.
This combining of words is a telling trend in today’s mash-it-all-together, create-a-new-word-for-it generation. The dictionary calls that linguistic maneuver a portmanteau: a word formed by blending sounds from two or more distinct words and combining their meanings. Lewis Carroll was the first to write about it in Through the Looking-Glass, in 1871. Since then it’s been done thousands of times and frequents our everyday language; take “brunch” for instance, the combination of “breakfast” and “lunch.”
It’s more than simply combining words, however. The new word usually represents the best parts of the original two words and, when combined, is exponentially better—expanding and capitalizing off two ideas as opposed to one. Who would argue that lazy weekend morning aren’t better thanks to brunch?
In the case of Thanksgivukkah, it’s the blending of people, cultures and traditions that creates true meaning behind the new word. It’s a respectful mixing of behaviors and beliefs that honors both distinct holidays. Thanksgivukkah represents two sides coming together to form a synergistic approach to celebration–and life! A distinctual (portmanteau intended: “distinct” mashed into “instinctual”) meme to this generation and time.
Let Thanksgivukkah 2013 be just the beginning! It’s time to combine tried-and-true ideas with new-to-the-market technologies. It’s time to bring opposing forces together and create something even better than the two wholes. It’s time to mash-up all areas and avenues of our lives to move the world forward.
This Thanksgivukkah week we move it forward in peace, celebration, and appreciation.