Rosh Hashanah is a festival which celebrates Jewish New Year (also known as ‘head of the year’) and is celebrated over 2 days. The time period jumps about during the Gregorian calendar, but in the Hebrew calendar used by many of the Jewish faith it is indicated by the first and second day of Tishrei. ‘Rosh Hashanah’ is a celebration of the creation of the world and marks making a fresh start. This festival is a time of year to reflect on the past year and look forward to the coming one.
The holidays celebratory meal includes food such as yeasty challah, matzo ball soup and apples dipped in honey. The abundance of food that is prepared and eaten during this festival is thought to have symbolic meaning and Biblical references honouring the traditions. Challah is an eggy bread dish, and during Rosh Hashanah the bread is shaped into spirals or rounds to symbolise continuity. The challah is often dipped in honey before eating, and shared around the table. One of the most popular ways to greet someone on these days is by saying “L’Shanah Tovah which means “have a good year”.
On the first night of Rosh Hashanah, its traditional to eat slices of apple dipped in honey to begin the meal and before they eat the apple, people generally make the ha’ ritz blessing. Wearing white is also a tradition of Rosh Hashanah as this represents purity, cleanliness and new beginnings. Others wear a kittle, which is a white robe to reminds us of our mortality.
During such an important date in the Jewish calendar, it makes sense to take the time to research for yourself the significance of what and how you choose to celebrate it. Observant Jews in particular consider Rosh Hashanah and the days surrounding it a time for prayer, good deeds, reflecting on past mistakes and making amends with others. If you are partaking in this holy day of celebration and remembrance, take the time to conduct yourself well and focus on how you can go into the New Year a better person.
“Every act of forgiveness mends something broken in this fractured world. It is a step, however small, in the long, hard journey to redemption”