What is Rosh Hashanah?

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Jewish Celebration of Coming New Year

Rosh Hashanah marks the first high holiday for the Jewish people. The name Rosh Hashanah means “head of the year.” This year, the holiday falls on Wednesday, September 20, and will last for two days. This is a critical time for the Jewish people as they mark the theme of judgment.

During this period, the people celebrate the coming of the new year as well as the reflection of the previous one. My Jewish Learning quotes it as “a time of inner renewal and Divine atonement.”

To commemorate this day, the Jewish people observe certain traditions that bear a lot of significance. The first tradition involves eating honey. The people eat honey either in the form of cakes or by dipping an apple in the honey. This symbolizes the sweet and beautiful nature of the year to come.

As the day goes by, the Jewish people are required to attend special synagogue services. Here, a hollow ram horn known as a shofar is blown. This is often a way to make the people aware of the meaning of the day. “It sounds an alarm as if to say, ‘Hey take stock’ ” says Rabbi Hain.

The another tradition observed by the people is known as Tashlich. This custom is observed on the first day of Rosh Hashanah. It involves tossing bread into a large water body, preferably one that has fish in it. This symbolizes that the people are casting their sins from the old year away and starting the new year with a clean slate. If someone is not able to perform this tradition on the first day, they can do so on the last day of Sukkot. This year, Sukkot falls on October 11th.

These traditions give Rosh Hashanah its meaning. It is also a time for the Jewish people to get together and bond over a delightful meal.

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