What is Rosh Hashanah?
Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year celebration. Jews observe this celebration on the first two days of Tishrei, the seventh month in the Jewish calendar, and is ten days before Yom Kippur. The Torah describes it as ‘Zikaron Terua’, or the remembrance of the blowing of the horn. Rosh Hashanah can occur on any date between September 5th and October 5th.
According to tradition, Rosh Hashanah is start of the new year for people, animals and legal contracts as well as for calendar and sabbatical years. Jewish people believe that it represents the creation of the World or Universe, although some rabbi’s believe it celebrates the creation of man and the creation of the universe is five days earlier.
Like most Jewish holidays, Rosh Hashanah is a day of rest. It can feature the blowing of the shofar, a trumpet that is made from a ram’s or goat’s horn. The horn blowing no longer occurs on the Sabbath, but has in the past.
Another commonly observed tradition is tashlikl. This is the reciting of prayers near to natural flowing water on the first afternoon, or the second if the first day is the Sabbath. Throwing bread or pebbles into the water symbolizes the casting out of sins.
Meals on this celebration would symbolize a sweet new year and typically include foods such as apples, honey, dates, black-eyed beans, spinach and gourd. Another custom is to consume cooked tongue or meats from the head of an animal or fish to symbolize the head of the year.