Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year, and it’s a big deal. The Jewish new year starts on Tishrei 1, which falls between September 12th and September 19th in the Gregorian calendar. (It’s always the first two days of Tishrei.) Rosh Hashanah is often referred to as “The High Holy Days” because it marks the beginning of a period where Jews are supposed to be especially mindful about their spiritual wellbeing and how they live their lives.
What is Rosh Hashanah?
Rosh Hashanah is a time to reflect on the past year and look forward to the new year. It starts at sundown on September 2nd and ends at nightfall on September 5th. It’s one of the most important holidays in Judaism, because it marks the beginning of the High Holy Days (also known as Yamim Noraim), which are a period of introspection and repentance.
Rosh Hashanah literally means “head of the year.” In Hebrew, “rosh” means head, while “hashana” refers to something new or fresh. The word can also be used to describe someone who leads others—like a leader of an army or commander-in-chief would lead his troops into battle; so Rosh Hashana has many meanings: New Year’s Day, First Day of Creation/Creation Week 1st day (when there was light) First day after rain began fall season starts 1st day after Jewish month ends (month ends with 10th day)
What do you eat on Rosh Hashanah?
- Why do we eat apples on Rosh Hashanah?
Apple is the fruit that represents the new year, so it’s a perfect choice for this holiday. According to tradition, when God was creating the world, he looked at all of his creations and said “It’s good.” The only time he said it was not good was when he saw an apple tree—he decided to remove it from Eden because Adam and Eve would have eaten its fruit and sinned. By eating an apple on Rosh Hashanah, we’re symbolically saying that our lives are “good” (at least so far).
- What are different types of apples eaten during Rosh Hashanah?
The most popular type of apple eaten during this holiday is honey-sweetened dried sour cherries covered in chocolate or caramel—these delicious treats are called dreidels (or “driedel”). But you can also find other yummy varieties: honey-sweetened dried apricots covered in chocolate or caramel; honey-sweetened dried figs covered with almonds; tart apples dipped in cinnamon sugar; etc!
What are the customs and traditions of Rosh Hashanah?
- Lighting candles.
- Giving to charity. Jewish tradition teaches that people should increase their charitable giving on Rosh Hashanah, because they will be judged by how they treat the poor during the coming year. As part of this practice, many families will make a donation to charity on Rosh Hashanah, which is then given at another time later in October or November as part of “tzedakah” (charity).
- Eating apples and honey. Traditional foods for this holiday include apples dipped in honey; fruits such as pomegranates; and challah breads made with raisins or nuts. These foods represent wishes for a sweet new year full of health, wealth and happiness—and are thought to bring good luck if consumed on Rosh Hashanah!
- Saying the Sh’ma prayer
So, what do you think? Are you ready to celebrate Rosh Hashanah?