Here is a look at the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashanah – a celebration of the new year. In 2017, Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown on September 20.
Facts: Rosh Hashanah means “head of the year” in Hebrew. It is a time for reflection and repentance.
It is referred to as the “day of judgment” or the “day of repentance.”
According to the Talmud, the world was created on the first day of Tishri, the seventh month of the Jewish calendar. So Rosh Hashanah is considered a birthday of sorts for the world.
It is celebrated on the first and second days of the month of Tishrei, which generally corresponds to September or October on the Gregorian calendar.
Rosh Hashanah begins the High Holy Days or Ten Days of Penitence, which end with Yom Kippur.
One of the most significant rituals during Rosh Hashanah is the blowing of the Shofar, or ram’s horn. It is used as a call to repentance during the High Holy Days.
During this time, Jewish people attend synagogue services and refrain from working.
It is also customary during this time to wear new clothes and get haircuts.
Another popular practice is to eat apples dipped in honey, symbolizing the hope for a good year to come. Also, challah bread in round loaves instead of braided loaves is dipped in honey instead of salt.
Pomegranates are eaten because the seeds are symbolic of the many commandments in the Torah that Jews must fulfill.
Another popular ritual is to walk to a river or stream and recite special prayers of penitence. Afterward, one throws breadcrumbs in the river, to symbolically cast away sins.