For people of the Jewish faith, Rosh Hashanah is one of the most important holidays of the year. Find out more about the first day of the Jewish calendar year. In 2016 Rosh Hashana falls on October 2nd to October 4th.
What Is Rosh Hashanah?
Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year. In Hebrew, Rosh Hashanah means, "head of the year" or "first of the year." The holiday's date is set by the Jewish calender, but it is generally in mid to late September. Unlike New Year on the Roman calender (that's the one that we all celebrate on January 1st), this holiday isn't about partying, fireworks and loud celebrating. Rosh Hashanah is one of the holiest days of the year so many people spend most of it in the synagogue.
Observing the Holiday
If you're in the synagogue on this day, one of the sounds you'll hear is the shofar. The shofar is a ram's horn, which is blown almost like a trumpet. No work is allowed on Rosh Hashanah with one exception - preparing food. Food is an important part of this holiday. Eating apples dipped in honey is a symbol of the wish for a sweet new year. Bread is also dipped in honey. Another popular tradition is called Tashlikh, which means "casting off." Here's what you do - go to a creek or river (or any place water is flowing) in the afternoon of the first day. Empty out all your pockets into the water. It's a great way to get rid of unwanted change and lint. It is also symbolic of casting off your sins.
Did You Know?
- In European villages, it used to be a custom for a messenger to go from house to house with a sack in the days leading up to Rosh Hashanah. People who could afford it put coins in the sack. Those who were poor took coins from the sack. Nobody knows who gave and who took. This way, every family had what they needed to celebrate the holiday.
- Round Challah bread is served on Rosh Hashanah to symbolize the cycle of the year.
- Pomegranates are served on Rosh Hashanah because they are said to have 613 seeds, the same number of Jewish commandments.
- Rosh Hashanah is a day for all Jewish people to look at their past sins and ask forgiveness for them.
Have Your Say
Does your family celebrate Rosh Hashanah? Let us know by leaving your comment below!