Rosh Hashanah, also known as the Jewish New Year, is one of Judaism’s holiest days, according to History.com. It begins on the first day of Tishrei, the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar. Here’s everything you need to know about the holiday:
What is Rosh Hashanah?
Rosh Hashanah means “first of the year,” according to jewfaq.org. That’s why it’s referred to as the Jewish New Year.
Rosh Hashanah is a time of year to look back on mistakes from the previous year and plan for changes in the coming year. This is a similar practice to when people make resolutions for the start of the new calendar year.
The holiday marks the beginning of the 10 Days of Awe – a 10-day period of “introspection and repentance.” Work is prohibited during the holiday and religious Jews spend most of the day in the synagogue.
During Rosh Hashanah, rabbis and their congregations read from a special prayer book known as the machzor. They also do this during Yom Kippur.
Sounding of the shofar
The Bible refers to the holiday as Yom Ha-Zikkaron, meaning the day of remembrance, or Yom Teruah, the day of the sounding of the shofar, according to jewfaq.org.
The shofar is a trumpet made from a ram’s horn and is an essential part of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The sound of the horn serves as a call to repentance and a “reminder to Jews that God is their king,” according to History.com.
The shofar blower plays four sets of notes: tekiah, a long blast; shevarim, three short blasts; teruah, nine staccato blasts; and tekiah gedolah, a very long blast.
What do you do during Rosh Hashanah
After religious services are over, many Jews celebrate with a festive meal and other customs. Here are a few customs of Rosh Hashanah.
Apples and honey – Ancient Jews believed apples had healing properties and honey signifies the hope that the new year will be sweet.
Round challah – On Jewish holidays, Jews eat loaves of the traditional braided bread known as challah. On Rosh Hashanah, the bread is often baked in a round shape to symbolize the circle of life and the crown of God.
Tashlich – Some practice this custom which means “casting off.” Casting off is the practice of throwing pieces of bread into a flowing body of water while reciting prayers. The bread symbolizes the sins of the past year.
L’shana tovah – This Hebrew phrase means “for a good year” and Jews will greet each other this way on Rosh Hashanah.