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Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year and is celebrated in early Autumn. It is believed to be the anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve, the first man and woman and no work is allowed on Rosh Hashanah. For more information, see the facts below.
- Rosh Hashanah means “head of the year” and is commonly known as the Jewish New Year.
- It is the day on which the year number changes. Rosh Hashanah is a solemn and holy time. It occurs on the first and second days of Tishri, which falls in September or October.
- Rosh Hashanah commemorates the anniversary of creation and is a day in which the whole world is judged for the coming year. It is a time of restricted rejoicing because celebrations are muted in acknowledgment of the great judgement taking place.
- No work is permitted on Rosh Hashanah, and most of the day is spent in synagogue. There is a special, longer liturgy for Rosh Hashanah. The service centers on the theme of God’s sovereignty.
- “Day of Remembrance” signifies that on this day Jews commemorate the creation of the world and are reminded of their responsibilities as God’s chosen people. Rosh Hashanah is also known as the Day of Judgment, for it is believed that on this day God judges all of his people and decides on their fate in the next year. Rosh Hashanah is a time of reviewing and repairing one’s relationship with God, the Supreme Judge.
- The majority of the day is spent in a synagogue, as no work is allowed on Rosh Hashanah. Specialized services on Rosh Hashanah take place, which typically last longer than the average time of worship.
- While other holidays in the Jewish faith may involve fasting, Rosh Hashanah does not.
- Certain foods are prepared for Rosh Hashanah and carry specific meanings. Apples and bread dipped in honey represents a sweet new year to come. Challah bread is often baked into round creations to serve as symbols of the cyclical nature of the year. Raisins are added to signify a sweet new year. Sometimes, the bread is dipped in honey to symbolize the sweetness they wish to take place in the coming years. Fish is a typical dish which is served. Fish is known as a traditional symbol of fertility and prosperity. Since its eyes are always open, the creature represents knowledge. Pomegranate is often part of the holiday meal as well. It is said to have 613 seeds, which is the number of mitzvot (commandments). The pomegranate therefore serves to remind God of the obedience of the family in the prior year.
- In a ceremonious tradition of ‘casting off’ the sins committed during the previous year, observers of the Jewish faith may participate in an old custom called Tashlikh (which translates into ‘casting off’). With bread crumbs in hand or tossing the contents of their pockets, worshippers will walk to a creek or river in a symbolic gesture of tossing away their sins. Usually, this ritual takes place on the afternoon of the first day of Rosh Hashanah.
- Rosh Hashanah is a time for family, friends and celebrations.
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