Rosh Hashanah, also known as the Jewish New Year, marks one of Judaism’s holiest days. Here’s everything you need to know about the religious holiday.
What is Rosh Hashanah?
Rosh Hashanah starts the beginning of the Jewish New Year, and also marks the start of the High Holy Days. It is “the birthday of the universe,” according to Chabad.org. In the Jewish calendar, it is the start of year 5783.
It is an occasion celebrated with prayer, synagogue services, reflection, symbolic foods and the blowing of a ram’s horn called a shofar.
Jews are often called upon to reflect on how they might have failed in the year and how they can improve on those failings.
The holiday also marks the beginning of the 10 Days of Awe — a 10-day period of introspection and repentance, which ends on Yom Kippur, the day of atonement.
How long does Rosh Hashanah last?
Rosh Hashanah started at sundown on Sunday, Sept. 25, and runs through nightfall on Tuesday, Sept. 27.
Some Jews choose to observe the holiday for one day while others observe for both days.
How is Rosh Hashanah celebrated?
At services, many Jewish congregations will recite prayers from the machzor, a prayer booked used on the High Holy Days, and sing hymns to mark the new year.
Some communities blow the shofar to serve as a call for Jews to repent and remind the community “that God is their king,” according to History.com.
After religious services conclude, many Jews celebrate with a festive meal.
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Sweet foods, such as apples and honey, are popular during Rosh Hashanah because ancient Jews believed apples had healing properties and honey signifies that the new year will be sweet.
Jews also eat traditional braided bread known as round challah.
The bread is baked in a round shape to symbolize the crown of God and the circle of life.
How do you wish someone a ‘Happy Rosh Hashanah?’
According to My Jewish Learning, the most common greeting for the holiday is, “Happy New Year,” or its Hebrew equivalent, “L’Shana Tovah,” which translates into “good year.”
The greeting is used on the holiday itself, as well as the days preceding and following Rosh Hashanah.
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