Rosh Hashanah is a Jewish New Year, it occurs on the first day of the High Holy Days which usually in autumn (northern hemisphere). The Jewish New Year is a two-day celebration. It is a serious day for the Jewish people unlike the secular New Year or January 1 wherein most people party hard. But on Rosh Hashanah, most family’s have a get together, they share special meals, pray and visit the synagogue because it is believed to be the day when Adam and Eve were first created as man and woman. Jews spent most of their time in the synagogue for the regular liturgy as well as to pray since it also the first day of the Tishri, the holiest day of the year.
What is Rosh Hashanah
Hashanah simply means “head of the Year” in Hebrew. Rosh Hashanah marks the start of the Days of Awe, making it a very important day of the year for Jewish people. The “Days of Awe” is the beginning of the ten days of asking and praying for forgiveness. Rosh Hashanah occurs in the seventh month of the Hebrew month or September or October in the Gregorian or Secular calendar.
Rosh Hashanah is an important Jewish holiday, because of its significance the rabbis gave it different names such as “Yom Hadin”, “Zichron Teruah,” and “Yom hazikaron” which means the “Day of Remembering.”
By the way, on Rosh Hashanah, the book of life is open and the names of the righteous are written or inscribed, this is according to Judaism. Jewish people pray and ask for forgiveness from man and G_D until Yom Kippur only because on the “Day of Atonement,” those who did not repent, their names blotted out of the sacred book forever. So, Jews pray and visit the synagogue on New Year to reflect, repent for 10 days.
When Is Rosh Hashanah
Rosh Hashanah according to the secular calendar begins in the eve of September 4 and ends in the evening of September 6, which is Friday. It occurs most of time, 163 days after the Passover and never falls on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday.
Rosh Hashanah 2013
September 4, 2013 – September 6, 2013
Rosh Hashanah 2014
September 24, 2014 – September 26, 2014
September 13, 2015 – September 15, 2015
October 2, 2016 – October 4, 2016
Rosh Hashanah for Kids
Rosh Hashanah is a joyous occasion because it brings the family together not just in celebrating the day but also in prayer. In fact, the celebration starts before sunset and ends at sundown. The Jewish families during New Year go to the synagogue to attend the liturgy and pray as the day marks the start of the repentance.
But of course, the holiday celebration depends on the family tradition. There are families that eat together before or after the evening service. They share meals and eat sweet foods to wish for a fruitful year. Take note, Jews avoid eating sour foods to avoid bad luck. It is also common to see a whole fish at the Jewish table during Rosh Hashanah because serving the head of the fish can bring prosperity for the whole year.
Anyway, In order to keep the kids entertained, a lot of family prepares their food together then have a picnic or dinner at home.
Rosh Hashanah Traditions
Rosh Hashanah is a special day, so there is no work. Besides, most Jews would be spending much of their day in the synagogue and with their family. The Jewish New Year is also the time for family gatherings so businesses owned by Jews are definitely closed.
Aside from not working during this holiday, Jews also observe other Rosh Hashanah traditions like eating apples with honey and other sweet foods. Jews also observe the tradition of lighting the chanukkah candles. They also perform the Tashlikh or casting off, a long-standing tradition that even though not found in the bible, it is still practiced in the afternoon of the Rosh Hashanah first day.
Those who practices Tashlikh gather near a river or stream after the afternoon service to throw bread crumbs in the water to cast away their past mistakes or sins for the past year. The breadcrumbs symbolize the mistakes or sins, and by tossing them, they are showing everyone that they wish to avoid sinning.
Now, in case you are wondering why eating apples dipped in honey a Rosh Hashanah traditions, well, Jewish people believed that they could have a fruitful year by doing so. Come to think of it! It is also customary to eat fruits not yet eaten recently to receive additional blessings.
Other traditional Jewish New Year foods and their meanings are below:
Fish Head – It symbolizes prosperity and fertility, so eating fish head is a good thing.
Challah – This food signify long life, which is why it is prepared during New Year and other holidays.
Pomegranate – This fruit symbolizes hope. It is eaten to show hope for the coming year.
Tzimmes – It is sweet carrots, served with the New Year meal and just like the fruit pomegranate, it symbolizes hope.
Shofar – The trumpet or horn is the most important symbol of the Jewish New Year. Thus, sounding the horn or shofar during the Rosh Hashanah is imperative, a tradition practiced up to this day.
Wearing White Clothing – Wearing white especially when going to the synagogue is another Rosh Hashanah tradition as the color white symbolizes purity.
Sending Cards – Greeting friends, family, and associates this Rosh Hashanah is a tradition still practiced today because wishing someone a fruitful year are a nice gesture.
Rosh Hashanah Greetings
The following are common Rosh Hashanah greetings that you can use to greet your Hebrew friends, wherever they are in the world.
For a good year
L’shanah tovah tikatev v’taihatem
May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year
Le’shana Tova Tikoteiv Vetichoteim
May you be inscribed and sealed for a Good Year
Shana Tova Umetukah
A Good and Sweet Year
Ketiva ve-chatima tovah
May You Be Written and Sealed for a Good Year
Tizku leshanim rabbot
May you merit many years
Happy Rosh Hashanah
Wish your parents, grandparents, siblings, cousins, friends and dear ones happiness, prosperity and blessings this Rosh Hashanah with wonderful ecards or sms them with heartwarming messages, like the ones below:
Shalom to all!
Shalom! It is Rosh Hashanah! I wish that, at the sound of the shofar, you received happiness and blessings not just today but also in the coming days.
Its Rosh Hashanah, time to renew our faith and hope by forgiving people that have wronged us, and so I start with you. I wish you a year full of blessings, peace, and happiness. I’m sorry for my mistakes. Shalom!
It is the time for joy and new beginnings so on this joyous occasion, I wish that you remained happy, blessed, and contented.
My warm and heartfelt wish to you this Rosh Hashanah is that may you prosper even more this year.